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XxHornySlug69xX (Summer Nights)

Reviewed by Caroline Stafford


Welcome to the internet! Well, the alternate universe web called Xanadu, where the Slug Club will lead you through a lusty, sweaty, sticky reimagining of the formative moments many queers experienced in the early 2000s. The director, Marli Jupiter has created a delicious exploration of the role of the internet in the formation of identity and sexuality. Welcome to XxHornySlug69xX.

Using a combination of well-designed projection and clever costuming, we are welcomed into a game with three players - the sweet Sluggerina (Jo Cooper), the bold Beef (Rhiannon Bryan), and the turbulent Trans Wizard (Leisl Lucerne-Knight). Each plays several rounds of their own unique story - each exploring an unfortunately extremely relatable aspect of online identity. Sluggerina takes us to a non-specific ‘club’ flash game, where two boys compete to be her ‘bebe’, in ways that oscillate from naive glomps to crude penile portraits. Beef’s struggle to find the perfect porn, with a balance of realism and queerness is perhaps even more understandable. Finally, the Trans Wizard undertakes the ultimate struggle - the fight between a biologically installed AFAB program and the corrupting influence of their mighty trans virus. It’s a glorious metaphor for one young person’s struggle to come to terms with their gender.

Each performer delivers their story with their own unique style. Cooper’s physicality is a joy to watch, even as they represent their on-screen avatar. Bryan’s raw and urgent emotion makes their frustration with the inefficiency of AI porn generation palpable. And Lucerne-Knight’s unique blend of drama and comedy oozes from every element of their performance - from facial expressions to gestures.

These unique performances are enhanced by their unique costuming. Each ‘player’ wears beige undergarments, differently coloured neon ‘mankinis’, matching makeup, and a silver swimming cap (for the ‘slug vibe’, of course). As each character delves back into their story realm, they don a different key costume element to represent their role - allowing them to seamlessly play background characters as well when they are not the protagonist at hand.

The true magic that ties this piece together so well is the projection and lighting - a partnership between AV design by Emmason Tucker and sets/lighting by William Gammel. Whether it is landscapes for slug orgies or the swirling tumult of the web, the mix of 2000s internet frames, luscious organic shapes and sweeping light invites the audience into the cyberspaces the characters occupy.

XxHornySlug69xX is for anyone who has grown up with the internet. It’s a rare, surprising and oddly moist work that tells a niche set of stories, which will resonate with a whole generation of young queers - making us think, cringe and squirm with joy.

Promotional Image Provided. Image Credit: Hunter White

Reviewer Note: Tickets for this review were provided by the theatre company.


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