Slap ‘N’ Tickle Theatre Company, founded in 2020 by East 15 Acting School alumni, has created a fabulously entertaining piece of devised theatre that explores sensitive issues surrounding consent (or the lack of it) and violence, combining spoken scenes with catchy country-style songs that are light hearted, often comical and always pertinent to the unfolding story.
A fabulously entertaining piece of devised theatre
It sounds like an extraordinary and almost unworkable mix and just reading the description of Spit Me Out, begs the question as to how the serious content can be appropriately handled by the two comic cowboys with their guitars in bright red, sequin-clad waistcoats. The secret lies in having another ingredient in the form of Sophie (Madeleine Gordon), who delves into the darkest corners of her past to reveal secret sexual experiences that have remained hidden for years. Can bringing them out into the open bring about life-changing closure or will they continue to haunt her?
The cowboys are not ostensibly what they seem. Lawrence Harp and Drew Rafton are, in fact, incarnations of Sophie’s subconscious. Hence she is able to have conversations about events that took place between these two boys in her life, The Boyfriend and The Exes, and confronting them with what they did and allowing them to explain their behaviour and the reasoning behind it. It gives hope that they too will be going through this process, wherever they might be in life, and that it will be a cathartic experience for them all.
The musical interludes bring relief from a tale that at times is, quite rightly, deeply troublesome and sad. It is a moving and highly effective expression of the company’s vision to empower and explore the female narrative that also has a didactic dimension to it.
Rather like ‘sweet and sour’ the unlikely combination works to considerable effect. Rooted in reality by opening soundbites from recent news stories involving toxic masculinity, Spit Me Out succeeds in delivering a moving message that goes to the heart of failures in sex education, the attitudes of many men learned from their fathers and the plight of women who are at their mercy.