I spent last night from the hours of midnight to 2am being belittled, insulted and berated in every way I could imagine. I was kissed on the mouth by a bearded man named James. I was mocked for my accent and told off for my reviewer’s notebook and pen. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Spank! is pure, unadulterated fun.
Spank! is effectively a rapid fire collection of the Fringe’s top comedians doing 10 minute excerpts of their shows, with interludes where the hosts pick fun at the poor souls sitting in the front row. This is a setup that demands success, because it automatically assumes that you get the best pieces of the comedians on that evening. By cycling through comedians quickly, each performer could leave their mark on the audience, without risking falling into monotony. Furthermore, because the sets were shorter and had fundamentally different pacing, comedians took more opportunities to interact with the audience, in about every way imaginable. This was true for every single performer there. I felt like I was getting the best of their work at a pace that kept the humor flowing fast and freely.
However it is the interludes and the hosts which give this show the absolutely massive personality. The two compères lovingly poked fun at us about almost everything – our jobs, our drinks of choice – and in my case, my notebooks. In other situations, this could be mean or hurtful, but there’s a friendliness to the mockery that makes it all come together and just as fun for the person being mocked as it is for the rest of the audience. There’s something unique about Spank!, something that makes your inhibitions fall away as soon as you enter. I haven’t even mentioned the show’s most infamous part – one audience member can strip down to nothing in exchange for promoting whatever they want. All of this creates a frantic, rude energy that permeates the room and is impossible to avoid.
As with most shows that rely on changing lineups each night, I can’t guarantee that you’ll have the same experience I did. But I can guarantee you will at the very least enjoy yourself, because Spank! is pure, unadulterated fun. It is a mainstay of the Fringe for a good reason: there is an energy nothing else even comes close to, and it manages to stay consistently funny, crazy and weird throughout.