This Is Nottingham reviews Talking Cock

Review: Richard Herring, Nottingham Playhouse

Monday, May 13, 2013

By Steve Oliver

Richard Herring’s latest show, Talking (another word for ‘rooster‘), was originally written in 2003 as a male version of The Vagina Monologues.

Once again the show is part stand up show and part lecture, based around a central theme.

Updated a decade later, Talking Â’RoosterÂ’ is a whimsical study of men, and indeed women, and their relationship with the male sexual organ. Built around an online questionnaire aimed at both sexes, subjects such as size, erection anxieties, and urinal shyness, were tackled with an ease that biology teachers should embrace.

As our host pointed out, why should we be ashamed of the thing that is responsible for us being born?

Despite the subject matter, and the slideshow presenting occasional details of quite moving answers to the questionnaire, the audience were never made to feel awkward. Even at the end when asked to loudly proclaim our love of what we have. Of course there were sexual references, crude language, and a hint of innuendo, but beneath the sniggering veneer there was a semi-serious lesson.

From the fascination with it as a child, in which the most masculine thing you could do was be the highest in a weeing up a wall contest, to adulthood and how our willies rule our life, we learned from the ‘where have you put your penis for fun’ section of the questionnaire that curiosity never goes away. The subject of worst penile injury drew gasps, but thankfully nobody fainted, as has happened during the course of this tour.

It would be easy to turn a show with this subject into a puerile collection of tired willy jokes in the hands of a lesser comedian. Luckily, Richard Herring is intelligent and skilled enough to grasp the topic and pull it off with a certain level of sophistication.

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