Puppetry of the Penis Review
Puppetry of the Penis is a stage show devised and performed by two Aussie blokes, David "Friendy" Friend (fair hair, moustache) and Simon Morley (dark hair). Some way back in time, they discovered a talent for what they call "genital origami": manipulating their genitals into various shapes. They've taken their act around the world; it's spawned a book (a DIY guide, naturally), a website and now a DVD. This finds them on their home turf, at Melbourne's Forum Theatre. They begin their demonstration with the simpler items in their repertoire, such as The Woman (as seen in The Silence of the Lambs), before moving on to much more advanced "dick tricks".
That's basically all there is to Puppetry of the Penis, one dick trick after another for three quarters of an hour. Audience reaction (depending on sensibilities) will be divided between laughter, embarrassment and, for many men, crossing their legs and wincing. It has to be said that the two men certainly do know how to hold a stage, and some of their inter-trick patter is quite funny. For a show with no "plot", just a series of setpieces, the short running time is plenty. This DVD is a decent record of the show, no more and no less.
To state the obvious: this is not for those offended by full-frontal, though detumescent, male nudity (Friend and Morley are naked virtually throughout the show). The more narrow-minded male will probably not go anywhere near a DVD with a title like this; judging by the Forum's audience many of the buyers of this disc won't have penises themselves. I bet this DVD will do well on hen nights!
Shot on video, Puppetry of the Penis becomes a full-frame DVD. The visual quality is as you might expect, adequate for the job in hand without being in any way spectacular. The same goes for the sound mix, basic Dolby Surround, with the rear speakers used for audience noise and the front for the performers. There are fifteen chapter stops ("select a trick" as the menu says), but no subtitles.
There's only one extra, but it's a featurette almost as long as the main feature. Cockstars runs for forty-three minutes but has only one chapter stop. The featurette is an efficient run-through of how the show developed, including a trip to the Edinburgh Fringe. Puppetry of the Penis has become so popular that a second team of "cockstars" has to be recruited, to satisfy public demand. Much of the featurette devotes itself to the auditions. The three selected were Dan Lewry, Steve Harrison and Jim MacGregor. The featurette ends with the three newcomers' stage debut.
This DVD isn't intended as anything more than a decent record, or souvenir, of the stage show, and as such it succeeds, with picture and sound quality as good as it needs to be, and a solid background documentary to go with it.