What: Puppetry of the Penis
When: Monday, Oct. 12, 8 p.m.
Where: MY Millennium Place
Puppetry of the Penis isn't the kind of show you need to dust off your finest apparel for. Actually, the founder of the show recommends that you leave the monocle at home, as the performing team's testicular tricks will be projected three-stories high onto a giant screen.
"In the early days, we'd get people turning up in their opera clothes and coming to see some theatre, but it's pretty well branded now, so I think people know they're coming to see a couple of boys manipulating their genitals for the amusement of others," said Simon Morley, founder of the show.
Morley points out that the concept for the show actually came from a natural, childhood curiousity.
"It's behaviour that's probably not so uncommon to you folks up there at Whistler. You know, young boys having a little bit too much to drink, kicking their pants off to entertain their friends."
"I'm sure every boy, at some point, has walked out of the shower and gone, 'hang on a second, what does that look like?' We've pretty much just put capes on and taken it way too far."
There's also a cheeky, Vaudeville-style act that accompanies the visual spectacle. And spectacle it is, with over 40 "heroic and hilarious" penis installations like The Pelican, The Windsurfer, The Eiffel Tower, The Loch Ness Monster and their signature move, The Hamburger.
"It started off as a party trick, there was a bit of sibling rivalry with my brothers and I," Morley explained. "It was a thing we used to do as kids to make each other laugh, but then, our friends came to find out what we could do... and the next thing you know, you know how people talk, everyone just knew about it and we found ourselves being invited to parties where we didn't really know anyone and people would be like, 'oh, come on, show us The Hamburger!'"
Their infamy slowly grew and in 1998 Morley finally decided to take his act to the public stage, with the help of another natural performer, David Friend. Simon and Friend became Puppetry of the Penis, debuting at the 1998 Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Their inaugural performance was a hit, despite being only 20 minutes long. The team then spent the next year perfecting the show, then took to the open road, touring Australia before they made their way to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2000, their first step on a journey of world domination.
Over the past 10 years (or a "dickade" as Morley likes to call it) the show has toured internationally, with performances in over 14 countries attracting more than one million people, including celebrities like Hugh Grant, Naomi Campbell, Posh Spice, Bono and Elton John. It has been translated into three languages, inspired a "how to" book, has been played non-stop on HBO's Real Sex since 2002, and has been released on DVD throughout the world.
In fact, it's grown in popularity so much that Morley and friend have had to bring other genital artists into their fold, auditioning over 650 wannabe penis puppeteers. Today, there are four teams performing around the world.
"The audition process is where it gets really interesting," Morley said with a laugh. "Actually we should come up to Whistler and do some auditions - I bet there's a real breeding ground up there!"
At the Whistler show, the audience will witness Chris Cannon and Rich Binning pulling out all the stops to wow the crowd.
"I've told them both to work on their Thanksgiving turkeys."
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