Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Applause! Applause! Review of Shocks & Cocks 8: Cock & Bull at The Kraine Theater by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens

This review of Shocks & Cocks 8: Cock & Bull at The Kraine Theater was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 5 (2015) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

Shocks & Cocks 8: Cock & Bull
Produced & Hosted by Jonny Porkpie
Starring Albert Cadabra, Clara Coquette, Hard Corey, Patrick Davis, 
Matt Knife, Jonny Porkpie, Leeon Sugar, Tigger! & The Evil Hate Monkey
The Kraine Theater
85 East 4th Street
New York, New York 10003 
Reviewed 12/29/15  

Jonny Porkpie gets it! His male, neo-burlesque shows accurately hit the mark in terms of the direction I think these shows should be heading: few, if any, pasties; a requirement that every performer provide the audience (by contract) with at least 15 seconds of full-frontal nudity; and unique and substantive acts. This show was entitled Shocks & Cocks 8: Cock & Bull. Seven years ago, producer Porkpie jokingly included the name Shocks & Cocks: All Nude All Dude Revue in a list of possible show titles. A concept show, which seemed ridiculous at the time, couldn't remain unproduced for long (given the catchy title), so when Jonny Porkpie launched his "Bad Ideas" series later that year, it was only natural that a full production would arise. At the time, the so-called "boylesque" scene was nascent, and few men graced the striptease stage, except as MCs or for comic relief. By gathering what was at that point a critical mass of burlesque performers with male genitalia, and requiring a certain level of nudity, producer Jonny Porkpie had, in the words of Jo "Boobs" Weldon, author of The Burlesque Handbook, created a show which "holds nothing back; challenges and seduces at the same time, perfectly within the tradition of burlesque but just that little bit beyond. The production revealed more than flesh, playing on gender norms and audience expectations to raise both eyebrows and laughs." Six years and seven editions later, Shocks & Cocks 8: Cock & Bull is back. It continues to push boundaries, bringing male full-frontal nudity to the fore in burlesque shows that are hilarious, entertaining, and artistic. In Jonny Porkpie's own words, this latest installment of Shocks & Cocks "features over 30 inches of sheer, unadulterated talent."  

All of the performers in Shocks & Cocks 8: Cock & Bull exhibited unusual and extraordinary story lines in their burlesque acts. Matt Knife was a squirrel committed to protecting his nuts; Jonny Porkpie was a pirate named He Princess Lady Woman; Albert Cadabra was a magician who knew how to play with fire; Hard Corey played a King who was undressed by his manservant; Clara Coquette (with a strap-on cock) portrayed Salvador Dali giving a speech in Spanish; Tigger! started out naked and then fake stripped from there; Leeon Sugar performed in a big pink cotton candy wig and beautiful black gown that matched his black skin; and The Evil Hate Monkey, after examining the edibility of green, black and yellow bananas, stripped and shocked the audience. The highlight of the evening was the performance of Patrick Davis, a professional magician. He had an audience member pick a random card out of a deck, show it to everyone, and then place it back into the deck. The magician continued to try to guess the card but without success. Finally, Patrick Davis started to slowly strip off his clothing revealing additional cards attached to different parts of his body. Almost naked, he somehow pulled three six foot balloon "wands" out of his skivvies. Defeated, he got buck naked and finally revealed where that "lost card" was hiding all along. Patrick Davis is an extremely talented charismatic performer who you should consider hiring for any future event you may be organizing. For more about The Magic Of Patrick, visit his website at http://www.magicofpatrick.com/    

Jonny Porkpie is an excellent host who takes ownership of his show and is committed to its success. In this edition of Shocks & Cocks 8: Cock & Bull, he would tell a story about one of the performers and let the audience guess whether it was a "cock and bull" story or not. Those guessing correctly got a free ticket to one of his upcoming shows. He wore a suit with hearts on it just so he could tell one joke, namely, "Look guys! I've got a heart on." He explained Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia closed down burlesque shows in New York City because he considered those who went to see them "morons and perverts." Jonny wondered into which category the audience members fell. He described the holiday season as "a time for coming together" but also recognized "you don't need friends to have fun." He said, "I have fun by myself every single day." In the audience participation portion of the show, three people (2 men and 1 woman) were brought up on stage to either show some "cock" or else to do something that would "shock" those in attendance. As Porkpie said, "If you want to show us something, we're certainly happy to see it!". By the time "the rear end of the show had arrived," no amateur had yet revealed his crown jewels and sceptre, and according to Jonny, a Shocks & Cocks show cannot be considered complete until some "random audience cock" is featured. A volunteer was secured. Kudos to Jonny Porkpie for favoring Roundheads over Cavaliers. Otherwise, the audience can feel cheated.

In the finale, all the performers appeared naked on stage and Jonny Porkpie explained that for 8 years, he has been trying to get everyone to jump on top of him in one naked pile of flesh. The person most committed to this vision was Albert Cadabra, and the least committed was Patrick Davis, who didn't even want other naked bodies coming close to his. Shocks & Cocks 8: Cock & Bull is an artistic endeavor that is loads of fun. If you are looking for "boys" or for "titillating sensuality," then this may not be your cup of tea, but if you are looking for an outrageous, entertaining journey into an alternate reality that pushes the limits of propriety in order to please you, then you will want to make reservations to see Shocks & Cocks 9 next year. For more information about Jonny Porkpie productions, visit http://www.porkpieinternational.com  

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