Following on from their brilliant online show The Meat Cabaret in 2020 – to which I awarded the Spirit of the Fringe award on behalf of this blog – the Slap ‘n’ Tickle theatre company continue pushing at the boundaries of how women are treated in their new in-person show, Spit Me Out.
After a scene-setting song to get the party started, we meet two couples: Laura (Lizzie Wootten) and Mike (Drew Rafton), Sophie (Madeleine Gordon) and Jacob (Lawrence Harp).
The women were school friends, but they haven’t met in a while, and seem quite distant. What should be a friendly dinner turns into a wide-ranging exploration of the politics of sex.
Some moments are light-hearted or presented as such, others pull us out of the moment either of our own accord or because one of more of the actors highlights the issue.
Formative experiences, use of porn, lines of consent, banter, surviving assault, and seeing your partner’s point of view, are all explored in this well-structured and honest piece of theatre.
Slap ‘n’ Tickle’s work proves you can feel uncomfortable as you laugh, pulling up experiences that surely resonate with all of us. You may well leave thinking of yourself and others very differently.
These are heterosexual couples, so the focus is on the balance of power between what is colloquially called in the tabloids ‘the blokes and the birds’, but this is no less relevant to other partnerships where the use of sex is abused.
A young company which grew from East 15 Acting School and blossomed during lockdown, Slap ‘n’ Tickle is made up of two men and two women. Music and comedy is a large part of their USP, and they do both well, often slipping in a moment which catches you in the jugular with a smile on their faces.
When they need to be serious, though, they are. Although Mike does not seem to develop in any way and remain the “dick” of the group, despite one concession to peer influence
Laura and Sophie both open up with their individual stories, while Jacob is left bewildered at the image he catches of himself as a sexual being.
This is another accomplished show, which proves the team are not one-trick ponies and that their particular blend of theatre has legs enough to explore, entertain and educate in one night out.
Spit Me Out runs well under an hour, so never has the chance to drag, and there is an obvious trust and friebdship between the cast on stage.
Spit Me Out played at the Etcerera Theatre, Camden on 30-31 July. It returns on 10 August at The Water Rats, King’s Cross as part of the Camden Fringe – book here.
LouReviews received a complimentary ticket to review Spit Me Out.