Sex Sex Men Men
The Yard Theatre
Reviewed – 27th February 2019
“By the end, the show is joyous and silly. The set a backdrop of vibrant, glittery and soft fabrics imitates this playful atmosphere”
Sex is getting more complicated. Out of the confusion and the strangeness, Pecs have created a non-binary cabaret performed by seven very different and very brilliant drag kings. The show interrogates masculinity, exploring not only vulnerability but what it is to inhabit the kinds of strength that masculinity offers. The result is an evening of songs, dance, comedy and dramatic pieces that create a picture of male sexuality as a changing and nuanced spectrum.
Like many drag shows, Sex Sex Men Men seems to take parody as a starting point. The charismatic Cesar Jentley (Kit Griffiths) opens the show dressed in no less than a top hat and tail coat, simultaneously echoing both Ascot and cabaret. But with all good parody, there is an element of sincerity and Temi Wilkey’s Drag King Cole a lip-syncing dance that is heart-felt as well as hilarious. Victor Victorious’ (Victoria Aubrey) solo dance and strip is also nothing short of incredible.
From there, the show gets more serious and the comedy is always rooted in awareness that discussing gender also means discussing persecution, prejudice and abuse. In fact, the show does delve into the darkness of sexual abuse but there are plenty of warnings and opportunities for the audience members to leave. There are also some very explicit scenes and the audience, again, is forewarned. The show does not rely on shock value but on a desire to create an offering of performances that are about sex in all its roughness, gentleness, pleasure and pain.
What also stands out is that the show is interspersed with testimonies written by men on online forums. The stories range from confessions, confusing gay encounters to asking for advice about toxic masculine friendships. In these moments, it becomes clear that Pecs are opening the floor to more varied and frank discussions about relationships and gender. But there is a sadness in the disconnectedness of this as the stories have been put out into the void of the internet and are therefore both intensely personal and completely anonymous.
By the end, the show is joyous and silly. The set (Jasmine Swan), a backdrop of vibrant, glittery and soft fabrics imitates this playful atmosphere. The show is bold. There are some great ensemble dance numbers, there is nudity, food play, and a melancholic undressing scene to the music of Anthony and the Johnsons (which made this reviewer cry). Pecs have put gender on stage to remind us that it is a performance; a piece which we should all take seriously and have some serious fun with.
Reviewed by Tatjana Damjanovic
Photography by Holly Lucas
Sex Sex Men Men
The Yard Theatre until 16th March
Last ten shows reviewed at this venue: