On Friday evening at 10.15pm, sans alcohol, I went to see Guilt & Shame’s new offering, Guilt & Shame: Going Straight, at Soho Upstairs. The show is advertised as 16+ advisory age, and the venue is designed for brave new writing and a platform for anyone who has been “tearing up the fringe”.
Well, what a show! I haven’t laughed so hard and so loud in a long time, even without the lubrication of a few beers this show is pure genius!
Guilt & Shame: Going Straight is hugely interactive; as you arrive in the performance space, you are greeted and presented with a physical representation of either femininity or masculinity – a pink or blue hairnet/scrubs. You are then taken to your seat. I sat there wearing my pink hairnet, alongside all the other audience members, and wondered what on earth I was about to witness.
At the front of the stage is a big sign welcoming us to the church of “Clarkstianity”. We hear a voice-over assuring us that Jeremy Clarkson knows nothing of the show, and is not endorsing this new religion! Maybe it’s incidental that the subject of this new religion is not Jesus Christ, but another JC, TV idol and all man – Jeremy Clarkson,
The show begins…
The leader of new religion Brother Gabe enters, and instantly gets the audience onside; leading chants of “down it”, “have a wank”, and “punch it”. We are then treated to a 50 minute display of masculinity, and an alternative 6-step aversion therapy on how NOT to be gay!
This two-man comedy performance is skilfully written with excellent execution. Rob and Gabe have perfect comic timing, and their on-stage relationship is very solid and a joy to watch.
I could write pages about their jokes, the skilful incorporation of theatrical devices to move the story on, how they are skilled in mime ( in particular sex mime), can bust a move or two, and had me up on my feet pretending I was in a glory hole and singing along to Elton John classics. However, to do this would spoil the show for potential audience members and this is a show that has to be seen first-hand! Look out for A-list celebrity guests from Hollywood and football, as well as an appearance from JC himself, (Jeremy Clarkson that is) and the best music for men to dance too.
The show is pure genius; it plays to stereotypical ideals of gender and sexuality without actually offending. There is also a powerful message about following religious ideals without actually questioning them. The boys are out there and proud, and allows the audience to embrace their true selves, I can fully understand why Gay Times and other gay publications are championing this act.
The show definitely isn’t for prudes or those embarrassed and averse to interactive comedy. For me the piece was a delight and I cannot wait to see their next production. These guys are talented writers, performers and not bad looking either!
Review by Faye Stockley
GUILT & SHAME: GOING STRAIGHT
After five star sell out runs at the Edinburgh Festival, Soho Theatre, Brighton Fringe, Bestival and Latitude, Guilt & Shame return with their brand new show.
Gay virgin Rob and unstoppable womaniser Gabe really need to change their hedonistic ways so they join a strange religious cult but their new found god has some very weird rules.
Wild sketch comedy with crazy dance routines, rapping dwarfs and a maniacal Jeremy Clarkson, Guilt & Shame: ‘Going Straight’ is anything but.
Running Time: 60 mins
Age Recommendation: 16+
Sunday 12th October 2014