Guilt & Shame: Addicted To Everything | Gig review by Steve Bennett at the Soho Thearte

Guilt & Shame: Addicted To Everything

Gig review by Steve Bennett at the Soho Thearte

Your enjoyment of Guilt and Shame’s boisterously raucous show will depend entirely on your reaction to one of their set pieces, in which they drag a guy off the front row and get him to mime vigorously pleasuring four cocks, one at each compass point.

The majority of the audience lap this up, whooping and hollering their encouragement, egging the volunteer on. Great fun is had by almost all. But not me. It seemed cheap, like a sleazy nightclub host riling up a braying crowd with the promise of some free WKD to whoever was willing to degrade themselves on stage.

Elsewhere in the hour, we witness the mime of a swan being fucked, a crotch gyrated uncomfortably close to the fittest girl in the front row, a blow job mime, and a man, nominally dressed as his own gran, rapping about how: ‘I like dicks/4 in the front, 3 in the back.’

To add to the Club 18-30 vibe, the duo liberally deploy a banging soundtrack, and rarely waste an opportunity for a dance break. Their enthusiastic mugging it up to Scatman is greeted with a roars of enjoyment that the Kitsons and Lees of this world rarely get with their comedy of soul, wit and intelligence.

What else? There’s a hack Gollum impression; they chuck talcum powder around under the pretence it’s coke; and there’s the clunkiest satire about the Coalition targeting benefits not bankers that’s almost a parody of easy political humour.

They pretend they have the technology to transmit punters’ innermost thoughts over the loudspeakers – a trick Terry Alderton does so much better – and using a ‘gaydar’ they insinuate one man (the same guy they later call on for the multiple hand-job mime) is gay - which the audience finds an hilarious concept. Image a man being gay! Which is especially odd from this duo, since one of them is ‘one of them’, and makes much of the fact.

Plusses? Well, there are a couple. Both Gabriel Bisset-Smith and Rob Cawsey do all this with camp conviction, which is the only way it would work at all. And their characterisations of a homophobic God battling it out with a camp Beezlebub are neat, if overstretched. They also manage to hang all their ribaldry together reasonably well around the premise this is an addicts’ anonymous meeting.

Maybe it’s just I’m and old fart, and this is for the young people. They’ve sold out the Soho Theatre’s upstairs room and the majority of the room have a whale of a time. A TV show from Guilt and Shame would certainly sit well next to Ibiza Uncovered or some other low-rent, late-night telly show – but I wouldn’t really want to watch that, either.

Review date: 31 Jan 2014
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Soho Theatre

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