War of the Sperms

For a play about personified jizz, War of the Sperms is surprisingly unsexy. The romantic subplot is mostly expressed through hand holding, and the most prevalent mode of comedy is the pun. No one has ever gotten laid on the back of a pun.

War of the Sperms is essentially an extended skit, and I could see objections to its depiction of reproduction, but it’s a fun way to spend an evening.

Nine sperm living inside Jon prepare for, and eventually engage in a battle to enter “Bae” and be the first to unite with an egg. Along the way they’ll face flipchart presentations, the maze-like (apparently) paths of the womb, and as the title implies, each other.

Lewis Wilding’s script tries to pack as many jokes as possible in it’s proverbial load, erring on the side of quantity over quality. ‘Come’ is replaced with ‘cum’, ejaculate is compared with “ejacu-early” and Monty Python’s famous ‘every sperm is sacred’ bit is referenced. That’s the level we’re working at, and I am totally okay with it, because all those references come (heh) within a few minutes. The comedic refractory period is admirably low.

The ensemble cast work within the realm of caricature, occasionally even feeling flat. But they approach the silliness with a spirit-raising earnestness, and they have a skill for reacting in unison that never fails to elicit a chuckle. Like with other things, the enjoyment in this production is a result of cooperation.

In the first scene, when the new sperm learn the ropes from a veteran known as the guru (Charlie Douglas), the production soars. But as the action intensifies and we enter the womb, the jokes get a bit tired. By 45 minutes in, the writing dries up, and it begins to feel a bit crusty.

A few late-game twists reinvigorate the show, leading to an explosive finish, which makes the over-loud sound effects forgivable. War of the Sperms is essentially an extended skit, and I could see objections to its depiction of reproduction, but it’s a fun way to spend an evening. Do keep your clothes on.

Reviews by Bennett Bonci

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★★★
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Nine sperms. One egg. One winner. Irstead Theatre presents War of the Sperms, an achingly funny, zany little comedy about our earliest selves. After its debut as the short It’s a Sperm’s Life at the INK Festival 2017, this sweet and salty adaptation follows the tales of nine sperms as they learn the meaning of life and love at sperm training school before departing into The Great Sperm Race. With whip-smart innuendo and heart-warming characters, War of the Sperms is sure to be like nothing seen at the Fringe before. Come get a load of this.