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Richard Herring: Talking Cock – Grand Opera House, York

Reviewer: Rosie Revell

[Rating:5]

Richard HerringSince thoroughly examining the male member, as it were, over 10 years ago, with his original show Talking Cock, comedian Richard Herring has taken on a wide range of topics such as religion (Christ on A Bike), Hitler (Hitler Moustache) and love (What is Love, Anyway?). Conceived as the male counterpart to The Vagina Monologues but suitable for both sexes this revisiting of the show, the second coming of the title, is both a denigration and celebration of the penis that is wildly funny and thought provoking.

As Herring himself observes; “It’s an object of shame and pride; it can inspire laughter and fear; it’s a symbol of power, yet it’s incredibly fragile and weak; it can be a pound of flesh or an ounce of winkles, it can be used to express both love and hate; it creates life, it can condemn us to death… and it can do wees as well.”

Part statistic, part gag fest, the unique selling point of this show is that it is based on Herring’s online surveys for men and women detailing their attitudes and experiences of the “flesh canoe”. With just a projector and some cue cards Herring crafts a skilful exploration of all things phallic. The surveys are still open and to date nearly 10,000 people have responded so far. The answers range from the bizarre; you’ll never be able to look at a toilet roll and jelly in quite the same way, to the poignant as Herring explores history, sexuality, sex drive, size and a lot more besides as well as throwing in a multitude of nicknames for the “tummy banana.”

This revisiting of his show, the second coming, is a welcome return to a show that is just as excellent as it was first time round. This show could simply be dismissed as an hour and a half of penis jokes but it is a lot more than that. Men have rarely felt free enough to talk about their “little chap” in an honest way, exploring their insecurities but this show provides that.

Herring weaves imagery and poignancy with skilful wordplay to excellent effect, just by emphasising the words “spooned” or “drop of a hat” Herring can reduce the audience to fits of laughter. As Herring himself puts it an accessible “Vagina Monologues with balls” that is well worth catching on its current run.

Richard Herring is currently on a UK tour.

 

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