Review | Laura Money
It’s the oldest story in the book – according to some. Boy meets girl made from his rib. Girl becomes Boy’s personal sex toy. Girl is reprimanded when she begins to pleasure herself and is doomed to live a life of sexual repression while Boy gets to plaster images of his d*ck everywhere. You know, straight out of Genesis. The Last Great Hunt are back with their signature blend of surrealism, hyper-reality, screen mediated hilarity with a poignant thread throbbing underneath. D*ck Pics In The Garden Of Eden sees writer Jeffrey Jay Fowler in top form – biting satire, clever script, and an almost uncanny knack of parodying unpolished theatre and comedy. Every second is acted to perfection and the set, lighting, and sound design as flawless as the costumes. While that sounds like a rather basic review of everything, it’s only because you can’t embellish perfection. This show will have you craving eggplant and biting your lip in satisfaction.
Physical humour and puppetry is played up in the opening sequences and throughout to represent the Garden of Eden – the performers cavort in costumes made from everyday objects – stockings, foam, mattresses. Laughter is embedded into the very fabric of this show, as demonstrated by Maeli Cherel‘s exquisite costuming – Tyrone Earl Lrae Robinson hilariously pokes his head out of a Christmas Tree-esque Tree of Knowledge, complete with face cam, which is hilariously removed in one fell swoop after serving its plot-line purpose. Adam (David Vikman) and Eve (Arielle Gray) wear body stockings with
cartoonish whimsy, each carrying their hilariously oversimplified genitals in their hands. It’s a brilliant move – Fowler captures the playful nature in these naive and childlike characters – Vikman and Gray embody innocence with flawless comic timing. After the fall, we see Adam and Eve played by Ben Sutton and Jo Morris respectively although now they are middle aged and dealing with teenagers. Sutton’s ‘everyman’ schtick is nauseatingly real as the white, privileged literal king of the patriarchy – wheedling with Lilith for her to delete his infidelity-riddled private pics. Morris plays her repressed psychotic breakdown behind the eyes, captured by closeups and writ large behind her onscreen. Every move these characters make is scruitinised as it’s filmed from every angle and projected onto an image of suburbia that sways and almost dissipates as the cloth background wavers – perhaps suburban life isn’t as solid and perfect as we think it is.
Fowler provides a biting social commentary on sexual politics and the destigmatisation of sex. Adam and Eve’s son, Cain (Robinson) fittingly chosen as the slayer of Abel and all-round sinner is very open about his love of sex. He sends d*ck pics in class – setting off a sexual awakening in his substitute teacher which is a whole other thing, delights in pornography, and literally gets in bed with the devil. Robinson’s turn as the debaucherous Cain is inspired. His facial expressions and juxtaposition of hypermasculine posturing and chest muscles complete with He-Man wig, with a feminised wiggle of the hips brings a level of complexity to the character. Something Fowler always nails is multiple character casting – with a costume that represents each character, he explores different aspects and nuances of their personalities. Gray’s Lilith is cool and stand-offish, she expresses her pain in disdain for men and remains impassive when they scream outcries of emotion. When Iya Ware takes on Lilith there is a dynamism not present before – this Lilith channels her anger into creativity and is not afraid to shout in a passionate plea to men to do better. Embedded within the overarching themes of sexuality and oppression – which they manage to make hilarious as well as sad – there are a few references to badly performed comedy and theatre. With the majority of The Last Great Hunt cutting their teeth on the stand-up comedy scene it should come as no shock that they can write a pretty terrible tight five. Chris Isaacs will have you in absolute stitches with his badly written, stiltingly performed routine that manages to be derivative, sexist, homophobic, and a swathe of other insults at the same time. I know a certain 2010s Perth ‘comedian’ whose material about their name being ‘dick’ seemed to be the peak of their talents and seeing Isaacs absolutely nail the parody brings nothing but hilarity. The character turns out to be far more nuanced than his performance and it all comes back to repression. Joanna Tu rounds out the cast as Lulu, Adam and Eve’s rebellious daughter. She wants to act and auditions for Lilith’s one-woman show all about her treatment at the hands of Adam and her subsequent fall. Tu is perfect as she provides a satirical monologue reminiscent of student feminist theatre. Not that Fowler is discrediting either the emerging stand-up comic or youthful, exuberant theatre makers, but Tu’s impassioned monologuing gently ribs proving we all have to start somewhere but no-one said we weren’t allowed to cringe in the audience!
D*ck Pics In The Garden Of Eden is a bizarre and clever commentary on sexuality, and the roles we have created in society. Derived from the rich literary fodder that is Genesis, it explores themes that run deep in a heavily visible society – when d*ck pics sliding into your dms and eggplant emojis are standard and sexual violence normalised to the point of erasure. This is a very important show. It’s also a very funny show – leaning into the kitsch and exaggerating every move like a bad porno, even close-up shots are reminiscent of the genre, every single performer gets the money shot.
D*ck Pics In The Garden Of Eden is playing at Subiaco Arts Centre until 3rd December 2022. TICKETS
The Fourth Wall acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land we engage in storytelling on – the Wadjhuk people of the Noongar nation. We pay respects to their elders past, present, and emerging.
Keep up with The Fourth Wall on Facebook and @fourth_wall_media on Instagram to see what we’re up to in 2022.