FRINGEWORLD 2018 | Slap and Tickle | 4 stars

Review | Laura Money

Meet Slap (iOTA) – a clown, and Tickle (Russell Leonard) – his gimp.

According to the song, Slap and Tickle are best friends who are the best singing and dancing team ever! During the choreography of that song, however, it becomes abundantly clear that Tickle is the gimp in more than one sense. I can guarantee you will not ever see a show like this! Backed by the remarkably talented West Australian Youth Jazz Orchestra the two cavort about the stage in a gross parody of cabaret.

iOTA opens the show with a hilarious number “Not That Cabaret” in which he claims to not really be into cabaret that much. Sure, he’s gay and his gimp seems to be fluent in Liza Minelli’s choreography as Sally Bowles, but Slap subverts the cabaret conventions, flipping them on their head in a gross parody. A variety night like no other, Slap takes on multiple characters and gives them all a little stage time, while Tickle acts as stage manager and all-round offsider.

Tragic figure, Sirena glides across the stage costumed in a beautifully grotesque, merrmaid-inspired crown and gown and sings a siren-song, reminiscent of sea shanties. Her sad tale of being thrown overboard by a lover who didn’t return for her, and consequent gruesome revenge will continue to haunt you. There’s an energetic mind-reader, who is less about reading your minds and more about his brash and showy performance. A hilarious giant snake puppet who sings his denial at eating his missing snake charmer – he’s a vegetarian after all. A diva who wants to make it in musicals, who goes all out to impress in a powerhouse song and wind machine to accompany her.

Running throughout all of this, is the story of the long suffering Tickle. When he finally takes the microphone and sings, displaying his undeniable talent, Slap becomes increasingly angered, finally attacking him Rocky Horror style – crazed eyes and glittering makeup and all. There is a quiet interlude with a heartachingly beautiful moment on a lily pond, and a moment of reflection as Slap strips away his makeup and Tickle embraces his dreams.

Slap and Tickle is bizarre, ballsy, and brash – it’s also beautiful, beguiling, and brilliant. There’s an elegance and simplicity to the characters, who are all memorable. iOTA is a true powerhouse and Leonard gives the most charming performance, considering that most of the time he is dressed as a sex slave! Don’t miss this great show, with the best backing band in Perth, you’ll be clapping in delight all night long.

WHEN: 27 January – 3 February 2018 | 8:00pm

WHERE: State Theatre Centre WA | Fringe Central | Northbridge

INFO: Tickets $31 – $36| Duration 60 mins | Suitable 15+ | Adult themes | WA Artists





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