Melbourne Fringe 2012

Adventures of Butt Boy and Tigger

0 Comments 15 October 2012


With a title showcasing the names ‘Butt Boy’ and ‘Tigger’, one expects a bundle of laughs,and while the show effectively succeeds in inciting side-splitting belly laughs, the play’s main drawcard is its stirring premise brought to life through a brilliantly written script and beautiful acting. With rave reviews and sell-out seasons in Edinburgh, Dublin, Manchester and Sydney, The Adventures of Butt Boy and Tigger is the brainchild of Out Cast Theatre, the oldest Australian theatre collective with works pertinent to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities.

Young, vulnerable and untainted by the rigours of love, Butt Boy ventures online one day to chance upon Tigger – an older man with more sexual know-how but a cynical disposition acquired from his negative encounters with one too many men. Somehow hitting it off despite their vastly dissimilar approaches to life and love, Butt Boy and Tigger start to meet online every week like clockwork for chat sessions that nearly always lead into cyber sex.

The audience cruises along with Butt Boy and Tigger and becomes invested in their journeys as the two characters embark on scintillating sexual escapades – borne entirely out of the depths of their imagination – and engage in plenty of dirty talk without divulging too much about their actual selves. Nothing is sacrosanct when it comes to the creation of these fantasies as the two characters interchange roles, adopt accents, catapult to the past or stay rooted in the present, assume false names and envisage every possible scenario or venue to keep the fantasies as interesting as possible.

Although the play kicks off in a light-hearted and rambunctious manner, it veers into an emotional battleground when Butt Boy tentatively brings up the possibility of the two meeting up face-to-face.

The dichotomy between the two vastly divergent characters makes for an immensely interesting and entertaining performance as the two actors play off their obvious shared chemistry to breathe life into Butt Boy and Tigger. One minute bound to their keyboards, the next leaping into the centre of the fold to act out each conceived sexual fantasy, the demonstrations retain an endearing quality and are thoroughly enjoyable to watch. The entire time, no clothes are ever shed and humour is effectively used as a plot device.

The use of minimal props – save for two chairs and two keyboards – ensure the two actors are the focal point as they fully utilise the stage space accorded to them to depict instances of both exhilaration and despair. But the play’s real strength lies in the seamless way in which it moves from overtly funny scenes, to sexually-charged moments, to deeply introspective instances where the two are forced to ponder what it is exactly they want from their relationship with one another.

As the tension builds and the audience’s emotions swing back and forth like a pendulum, the play culminates in a moving finale – heart-rending enough to incite a floodgate of tears.

A rollercoaster of emotions with the pervading themes of love, fear of judgement and the eradication of barriers in this cyber day and age, The Adventures of Butt Boy and Tigger strikes a chord and leaves the audience whirling from what they just bore witness to – long after the final curtain call.

Adventures of Butt Boy and Tigger ran until October 13 as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival but is still showing at the Mechanics Institute Performing Arts Centre until October 20. Tickets are $20 full price and $16 concession.

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