Dynamic, physical, moving (literally), touching (even more literally) and hilarious; this is the New Art Club, Tom Roden and Pete Shenton, two men who are on a mission to make you feel better about your body. They get us to feel our bodies, from head to toe, cheekily slotting in naughty jokes and getting us comfortable with their weird style of comedy-come-dance. Their energy is infectious, as slowly we begin to adapt to these strange men, becoming more comfortable with them and, ultimately, with ourselves.
Their whimsical musings about the body spark physical reactions, leading them to act out, dance and move. This show is quite directionless and its kooky style is not going to be to everyone’s taste, but that’s the core of its charm. Their idea is very topical; Gok Wan is always screeching at us to ‘embrace those curves, girlfriend’ and to love our bodies but it’s usually something most of us simply tune out. These two cheeky performers push the limits of comfort by honestly discussing their bodies, from itchy arseholes to heart attacks. They handle nudity with humour, making the somewhat uncomfortable situation a bit more normal. It is a shock to see a fully naked man prancing about on stage, but honestly after a few minutes it’s not a big deal.
Be prepared to get up close and personal with these guys because they are not afraid of literally getting their bodies right up in your face. Some moments are embarrassing, some moments are held on for too long, but that’s kind of the point. This show is about breaking through that barrier and getting us to the point where we realise that there’s really nothing shocking about the naked body.
The pace of the show is perfectly timed, peaking at moments of hilarity and then into the sensitive and moving. At some points Shenton feels like a cameo character, popping in and out with physical comedy but he makes up for this later in the show with a powerful monologue. Shenton’s story is fascinating, visceral and far more shocking than his very naked body and as he spoke, the room became still and silent.
Go for the life lessons, the full frontal nudity or the silly dancing, but stay because you will laugh, you will be shocked and you might even be moved by what Shenton and Roden have to share with you. Even with all this aside, there’s a brilliant gold thong gag that you’re not going to see anywhere else!