2 Clowns, 1 Cup – HOME, Manchester

Remember those painfully embarrassing sex education lessons in school? The ones where boys went in one room, and girls went into another to be taught about “girly stuff“. Remember how unbelievably useless they were? Most people end up learning about puberty and sex through trial and error. Thankfully, Ugly Bucket Theatre are here to put the record straight.

WARNING!! This show contains scenes of a sexual nature!!

Ugly Bucket Theatre 2 Clowns 1 Cup HOME Manchester Theatre Review Push Festival 2020

2 Clowns, 1 Cup is nowhere near as x-rated as it sounds, although it’s still not suitable for younger audiences. Through the medium of physical theatre, techno dance, puppetry, and slapstick comedy, two clowns take a frank, honest look at sex and self-discovery. It explores everything unsexy about sex, and is hysterically funny.

Grace Gallagher and Crystal Quinney Barella are the teachers for the evening, with Barella playing several male characters. Both performers are impressively versatile, with a bucket load of energy and exceptional comic timing. The pair bounce off each other, creating a dynamic partnership, and giving the show an electricity that permeates throughout their performance.

The show follows a chronological structure, depicting growing up, hitting puberty, encountering sex, masturbation, and discovering porn. Like their other show, Bost-Uni Plues, hilarious audio interviews accompany the physical comedy. We hear people’s disastrous experiences of sex, and the two clowns bring them to life.

At one point, they brilliantly use emoji balloons to portray a woman’s cringe-worthy ordeal of being ghosted after a sexual encounter. Even though they showed as being read, her desperate texts go unanswered. Awkward!

Ugly Bucket Theatre 2 Clowns 1 Cup HOME Manchester Theatre Review Push Festival 2020

In some places the comedy feels a little contrived, such as a technical ‘malfunction’ with some water pistols. This episode sadly dragged the pace of 2 Clowns, 1 Cup to a stand-still. The comedy in the rest of the show is delivered at a breakneck pace, meaning that I ended up crying with laughter at several points. My cheeks and ribs started to ache, particularly when one audio interviewee described how she discovered vibrators through playing Mortal Kombat.

Realising that the PlayStation controller vibrates whenever someone is hit, she deliberately chooses the worst fighter and sticks the controller in her pants. The two clowns hilariously reenact a fight scene, dancing to the game’s techno theme tune, complete with orgasmic fatalities… “FINISH HIM!!!”.

A fabulous array of costumes are used to enhance the physical comedy. Gorilla masks are used to express shock at discovering pubic hair. There is even a crab costume worn when talking about STIs. The costumes also allow Crystal Quinney Barella to inhabit a host of different characters. My favourite being Tampon Terry. Barella dons a long, white bubble coat and becomes a Cockney Del Boy, illicitly selling sanitary products under the coat. “You didn’t expect them to be free did you?“. Terry literally slaps Grace Gallagher in the face with VAT.

Ugly Bucket deftly use comedy to drill home the unfair inequality that women suffer every month, which really resonated with me. The average woman has to spend approximately £8000 on sanitary products in their lifetime. A decent proportion of this is tax. Pink Tax. Jaffa Cakes are deemed as essential though, so are tax free. Tampon Terry gloats “You can always use a sock or a rolled up piece of tissue”. Sadly, those in poverty have to resort to this.

On the whole 2 Clowns, 1 Cup is hugely entertaining. It’s hysterically funny, bursting with energy, and a little bit bonkers. If sex education lessons were like this in school, we would have paid more attention. Although, the teacher would have been sacked!

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Ugly Bucket Theatre 2 Clowns 1 Cup HOME Manchester Theatre Review Push Festival 2020

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