The New Art Club, aka Tom Roden and Pete Shenton, are on a mission to make us feel good about our bodies. The duo combine stand up, dance, straight monologue, song and…nudity…to joyful effect, performing their Feel About Your Body at the Tobacco Factory as part of this year’s Mayfest.
At the start of the show, Pete and Tom ask the audience to rate their bodies out of ten. There are some threes, some sixes and some nines, but despite what our respective numbers are (The Fix showed up a rather modest eight), we are promised that the number will have increased by the end of the show.
Throughout an irreverent hour and a half, the audience is treated to exuberant imitations of moths and less exuberant, though equally funny, imitations of toothbrushes. There is an imaginative song routine about Tom’s Grandfather’s “shed[load of porn]”, and at times it feels as if the duo are trying to make each other laugh as much as they are the audience. It is this affability that means that they can get away with bits about making out with corpses without it seeming overly crude or distasteful.
Considering the nature of the show, there are no surprises when full-frontal nudity becomes involved. There is a particularly funny moment when Pete wears a thong the wrong way round – flossing isn’t the word – and the show closes with a brilliantly stupid bum dance. The duo are clearly comfortable both with their own bodies and proud of the material they have developed. When a persistent heckler spoils the punchline to the Grandfather song, she is told to shut up by Tom, much to the relief of the audience.
Pete plays more of the clown than Tom, but a staggering 20 minute monologue about his recent heart attack and resultant three-year coma stuns the audience into silence. While it brings the tempo and upbeat nature of the show down somewhat, it is testament to the actor’s skill that he can be comically imitating marionnette porn one moment and then dousing the audience in sobriety the next. It also played perhaps the largest role in raising the audience’s bodily self-assessment scores.
Feel Your Body continues for another night at the Tobacco Factory, and is highly recommended as a very funny, very silly piece of entertainment. The Fix loves a good pun, and while the show may have been absolute balls, it was also the tits.