Review: Slutmonster and Friends | Melbourne International Comedy Festival
If you’ve ever wondered what it might feel like to be slapped in the face with a dildo, Slutmonster goes some of the way to making that a viable possibility. Thankfully in this instance, the dildo-slapping experience is happening to somebody else. Literally.
For what opens as a sexed-up, highly warped fairytale, the plot of Slutmonster manages to get ever more twisted as it progresses. The titular Monster (played by Jessie Ngaio in the most anatomically incorrect onesie ever made) bumps into Larch (Lucas Heil) and Bovril (Wes Gardner), two princes lost in a land full of poisonous berries, boob flowers and friendly puppets. The pair attempt to socialise the Monster, but their increasingly dire situation sends the course of this fairytale spinning into ever filthier, crasser, funnier territory.
The production is surprisingly polished for a team of people that don’t appear to have been on the comedy circuit too long. The set pieces are beautiful and absurd things, packed full of genitalia-like imagery. The music cues and comic timing are almost always spot on, the cartoons that link each section are beautifully and cleverly rendered, and the puppetry is basic but very effective. While there are one or two scenes that drag (both musical soliloquies), the show sails along on the strength of its ideas and production values.
The whole show is a completely bonkers idea (blame Nelson Gardner, director/choreographer). On one hand, this show is likely to exhaust any need you might have to hear another crude joke. And there seem to be more penises and nipples on stage than there are audience members watching the show unfold. When operating on this level of crassness, most shows stumble, crash and burn in a spiralling attempt to milk the filth out of every last sex joke simply because they’ve got nothing better to fall back on.
But here’s the thing: Slutmonster actually works. Magnificently. At first glance, this seems like one of those shows that is happily swept along by the madness of its own ridiculous plotline. But on closer inspection it becomes abundantly clear just how well each element of the show is structured. It’s a show that’s happy to roll about in its own muck, but it’s also capable of pulling out all these other relatively clean jokes that demonstrate the team behind this is no one-trick pony. Simply put, most of the jokes are in there partially because they’re disgusting, but mostly because they’re good.
Slutmonster is gross-out porn of the highest quality, and dammit if you don’t just swallow your gag reflex and wade through this festering delight of a show.
Slutmonster and Friends is on at the Northcote Town Hall, Thurs – Sat 10pm, until April 21st.
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