Munch

Thanks to E. L. James, S&M is both ‘in’ and grossly misunderstood. Indeed, anyone that thinks Christian Grey’s dungeon is the start and end of all things kinky would be well advised to see Munch, Sitch ‘N’ Kink’s self-proclaimed ‘A to Z’ of BDSM. From watersports to waxplay, we are taken on a highly lyrical and sometimes very funny journey through the world of doms, subs and PVC.

Like BDSM itself, Munch is worth giving a go but it is absolutely not for everyone.

The setup is threadbare: our hosts Will Cousins and writer Ben Richards describe their visit to a “munch” – a gathering for those interested in the kinkier end of the sexual spectrum. That’s as far as the plot gets; the show then takes the form of a series of set pieces based on their experience, equal parts sketch show and tongue in cheek lecture. The difference between this and other offbeat double acts is in the show’s language: Richards’ script is full of fast, obscure plays on words, puns and spoonerisms of which the name “Sitch ‘N’ Kink” is highly representative. If a joke can possibly be made then it is; the pair barrage us with a hugely admirable display of verbal dexterity. Occasional musical interludes are, if anything, even more intricate and the chemistry between the two performers, so important in a show like this, is genuine and delightful to watch. The lo-fi overhead projector (dragged from a 1970s geography lesson) and ramshackle ten-second costume changes could not be more different from the highly polished nature of the text but they nevertheless lend the piece an endearing charm – there always seems to be the danger that everything is going to fall apart.

That it never does almost seems like a shame. There are often points where the dialogue seems almost too slick for its own good – certainly, there is no way that we can absorb every wordplay offered here and, whilst the poetry is wonderfully performed, you can’t help but wish for everything to occasionally slow down, if only to appreciate it better. Furthermore, whilst most of the jokes are terribly clever, they aren’t always terribly funny. There are only so many puns on electric shock stimulation you can take before it all becomes a bit grating. That said, there are some excellent moments along the way: an interlude with a grotesque puppet that looks like a chained up Gerald Scarfe creation is hilarious, as is a brilliant reworking of Mary Poppins’ most famous song. Mostly though, it sticks to the same intricate, pun-laden language and, if you’ve seen the first ten minutes, then you’ve pretty much seen the whole show. The skill is undeniable, the energy never drops and anyone who delights in puns and wordplay will find much to enjoy. For others though, this is a curious take on a curious world. Like BDSM itself, Munch is worth giving a go but it is absolutely not for everyone.

Reviews by Sam Forbes

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Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Munch, the A-Z of S&M, is a raucous ride through leather, leashes and all things kink. This compelling blend of poetry, puppetry, music and fun will have you rolling in the aisles and gagging for more. By award-winning playwright Ben Richards. 'Prodigiously talented' (Scotsman). 'Wonderful storytellers ... the poetry is incredible' **** (BroadwayBaby.com).

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