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IDGTF 2019: Review – Schlong Song

Review By Frances Winston

Schlong Song

Part of the Dublin Gay Theatre Festival, was performed from 6-11 May, at Player’s Theatre, Trinity College

The poster for this stated that it contained some nudity, and that insight, coupled with the title, pretty much set the tone for this.

Written and performed by comedy stripper, Woody Shticks (I’m fairly sure that’s not his real name) this is part stand-up, part biography, and part erotica! When the show starts with what is basically a lap dance, you pretty much know what to expect, so by the time Woody is in the altogether, recalling experiences of internet dating, the audience didn’t seem too shocked.

The piece itself tells the story of Woody’s own experiences as a gay man, from his conservative puritan upbringing, to helping others find their way out of their closets! As he tells the story, he dons various outfits – each one more outrageous than the last.

There is no denying that some of the material is very funny, but the whole thing is rather ‘in your face’. The audience was predominately male, and as I left the theatre there seemed to be two schools of thought. Many of the audience seemed to find the whole thing incredibly hot and erotic. However, the other group thought it was all a bit too OTT, and clichéd.

If this wasn’t Woody’s own story (although I’m sure he has taken some artistic licence) you would wonder why he had written such a caricature. He literally ticks every gay cliché box, and then some. He is warm and engaging, but doesn’t seem interested in touching on the more sombre moments of his life. On the couple of occasions where the tone becomes more serious (like discussing the attitudes to AIDS in the 80s) he literally snaps out of it in no time, meaning that the story lacks some balance. He seems more interested in focusing on the more high-octane elements of his life.

There is no denying that Shtick’s is a talented performer, but he has written himself into a corner here. Unlike many of the other plays I’ve seen in the festival, this wouldn’t really translate for a straight audience, and given the handful of women at the performance I attended, his target-audience seems to be the more liberal members of the gay community, who still like to go cruising and have a good time.

However, this really limits his audience. While I did enjoy it, it definitely wouldn’t be to everyone’s taste, and at times it veered into soft porn, which felt unnecessary, as his story is interesting, and he knows how to land a gag. After 60 minutes in his Bone Zone, I was more than ready to rejoin the real world.

This piece doesn’t have universal appeal, but the target-audience will love it. However, with a bit of editing, and more focus on the more sombre elements of his life, this could be a really well-balanced work that would appeal across the board.

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