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March 22, 2011 | by  | in Theatre | [ssba]

Tomboi – Laugh Your Bits Off

With a title like Laugh Your Bits Off, I didn’t really know what to expect. Admittedly, I
was down-right terrified. The stage at BATS, set with sporadically placed cleaning products,
crucifixes, bourbon bottles and toy cats, did little to reassure me. What I did get was a show
much akin to the set design- quirky, witty and at times knee-slappingly funny, but ultimately
lacking cohesiveness.

Andy Harness and Cathie Sheat, formerly of The Drag Kings, have come out with the
inaugural production by their new company Tomboi for the second Asia Pacific Out
Games. The show consists of a series of comedy sketches interspersed with pre-recorded
video clips which allow for some fairly daring costume changes.

From ‘tasteful’ superheroes in lycra tights, to the ever-distasteful Amy Winehouse, the
lesbian duo adopt a series of engaging comic personas and take refreshingly frequent stabs
at political correctness. Their Charlie Sheen references are expectedly chuckle-worthy,
while lyrical hilarity does not entirely compensate for lacklustre singing in their numerous
musical numbers. Appearing in one scene dressed as nuns, Cathie and Andy quickly shed any
vestiges of virtue along with their Catholic vestments, referring to “the Passion of Christ” and
the “laying on of hands” in one of many raunchy moments.

Unfortunately though, moments of comic genius such as these are somewhat lost in the
show’s disorderly general framework. The video inserts, which include meetings of a cat-
club ‘Pussy Galore’ and the failed job hunting attempts of two garden gnomes, descend
inevitably into slapstick chase scenes and raspberry-blowing toilet humour. While images of
a fat lady trying to climb through a cat door remain inexplicably funny the videos become
increasingly tiresome and the scenes disjointed, ultimately making the show feel like skits
night on high school camp.

Harness and Sheat’s undeniable comedic genius provided for plenty of laughs, although they
could benefit from keeping their show’s structure, if not their bits, more firmly intact.

by Cathie Sheat and Andy Harness
At BATS 16th March – Saturday 19th March 2011


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  1. Jane says:

    Perfectly gutted I didn’t go to this show. Laurel Carmichael you sure do make this play sound brilliant m’dear…

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