Review: Feel About Your Body, Pulse Festival, New Wolsey Theatre

New Art Club present FEEL ABOUT YOUR BODY, an uplifting and hilarious spectacle about how we feel ab

New Art Club present FEEL ABOUT YOUR BODY, an uplifting and hilarious spectacle about how we feel about our bodies featuring gold lame pants. Photo: Chris Nash - Credit: Archant

There are few great males on the stand-up comedy scene that have you laughing, losing your mind, and then finding it again only to think deeper than you ever have before. Fewer of them make it onto the screen and into your living room. The weird and wonderful Ross Noble. Mighty Boosh duo Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding. The exceptionally crazy funny Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer. Now meet Tom Roden and Pete Shenton. Because chances are they are the next ones to watch.

Combining fresh comedy with experimental dance and a cherry-on-the-top of slightly whacky, New Art Club present Feel About Your Body. This performance focuses on how we look at the human body. In comedy, you can address a lot more, it’s acceptable. In dance form you can express it even further. Take those elements away and your left with a naked man(yes, fully), dangling his, well, you get the picture, on a stage in front of an Ipswich audience. Add the fact that his nakedness was a misunderstanding, combine it with his being stood there for no more than a few minutes, but long enough that it is no longer strange that a naked man is standing in front, nonchalant, and you have an audience completely at ease - the magic of acceptance.

There is no blatant statement of ‘look at me and my penis’. It’s all neatly woven in to the bigger picture of ‘let’s feel a little better about ourselves’. The New Art Clun duo ask you to rate how you feel about your body generally out of 10 at the beginning of the show - nothing personal, just by holding up fingers. At the end of it all, they ask again. Yes, it’s a comedy, but once you have wiped away tears of laughter, and the muscles in your face stop aching, you realise a few lessons are taught along the way; Chill out, it’s just skin and bones. And muscles. And organs. And...well you get the picture.

Both men have a history in contemporary dance, and Roden has choreographed for the likes of the Royal Opera House. This isn’t just two men trying to be funny in tiny gold spandex pants for a cheap giggle. There is a rich element to its simple and strange form. It’s not like the dancing is all serious either - sometimes it’s just plain silly dad dancing with a funky chicken element. It’s rather beautiful to see two men being a bit child like.

There is some adult nudity. “Brief nudity, (long enough to see ‘the works’)”. But neither the ladies nor the gentleman in the front rows seemed bothered.


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They aren’t all that strange really, they just touch on the stuff in our heads some fear to acknowledge or accept. Oh, and there’s a great song about a shed.

For more information on their performances visit http://newartclub.org/

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Mira Shareif

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