This innovative Brisbane Festival show is a theatre experience like no other and one that is impressive, erotic and bizarre all the same time. Strap in.
This innovative Brisbane Festival show is a theatre experience like no other and one that is impressive, erotic and bizarre all the same time. Strap in.

Erotic experience could be changing theatre as we know it

Nobody could have predicted what was going to happen this year.

Of course, there's the global pandemic which caused unprecedented lockdowns, various restrictions, border closures and, of course, told we can't hug or dance and mingle in public.

But as unpredictable as all of that was, and still is, something happened last night that I never saw coming.

At 8pm, my phone rang and I sat on my bed in my pyjamas listening to a man read me an erotic story.

For the next 20 minutes, I was told the tale of how a man, so lonely in isolation, gave his barber a blow job while getting his hair shampooed.

You didn't see that coming? Me either. Let me explain.

The audio experience, (You Don't Have to Put on Your) Red Light, surely has to be one of Brisbane Festival's most innovative events.
It also has to be one of the strangest.

Over three weeks, audiences were dialled-in direct to their phone to listen to intimate stories written by authors Benjamin Law, Krissy Keen and Mandy Beaumont.

All as raunchy and erotic as the other.

Queensland-based performance collective, The Good Room, developed the concept to adapt to COVID-19 times and, it must be said, it's unlike anything I've ever experience.

It was simultaneously impressive, dirty and bizarre.

While it felt like I'd unknowingly signed up to an X-rated phone service, Cut or Uncut by Benjamin Law (the story I was entertained by) was a nod to how the pandemic has impacted those who crave connection.

Benjamin Law wrote Cut or Uncut read out as an audio experience as part of (You Don’t Have to Put on Your) Red Light in the Brisbane Festival.
Benjamin Law wrote Cut or Uncut read out as an audio experience as part of (You Don’t Have to Put on Your) Red Light in the Brisbane Festival.

After the main character, Josh, was dumped for being a slob, he did some soul searching and cleaned up his act.

As soon as he was the man he wanted to be, physically and mentally, lockdown happened and, living alone, he missed the human touch.

So, when restrictions eased and he booked himself in to get a much-needed haircut, he was quite literally overwhelmed by the touch of his barber.

It was slightly heavier content than I was prepared for on a Wednesday night. Perhaps a light comedy, inspirational speech or motivational story would've done the trick.

But it was fun, light and a bit of fantasy and I'm sure there would be some people who would've lapped it up. Content aside, I welcome and encourage the concept as a new way of delivering theatre. A performance you can enjoy at home, in your PJs, eating dinner and lasts 20 minutes, is one I can get on board with.

It might be something we all have to get on board with as social distancing and restrictions in theatres continues. We could see more shows take on the phone-call concept to adapt to changing times.

You're still getting a shared experiencing, knowing there are others who received this call at the same time, and albeit from different homes, you're tuned in to the same bizarre story.

Although I must admit, it's much harder to switch off and focus when you're not told to switch off your phone and enjoy the show.
In between the heavy breathing and surprise oral sex in the barber's chair, my friend was texting me memes of Seal as a seal.

Originally published as Erotic experience could be changing theatre as we know it


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