Sexytime opens on a bit of a bum note: a prolonged, wordless re-enactment of one of the oldest stories of lust and temptation that goes on that little bit too long and makes the audience impatient for things to get going. It does a bit of disservice to Sexytime, a comedy on sex and what it means to be sexy that, for the most part, succeeds.
Once the performers allow themselves to speak, things rapidly improve. Comedic partners Tessa Waters and Kai Smythe, hailing from Melbourne, host the show as two wildly different but equally absurd characters, Woman and Man. Waters is a sharp and entertaining host, delightedly chewing on a comically vague accent and relishing her simpering putdowns towards luckless audience members. Smythe plays something else entirely, a wild-haired, wild-eyed maniac who communicates solely in grunts, howls and suggestive gestures. Smythe is both fiercely committed and physically talented, though the shtick wears a little thin towards the end. Despite their contrasting personas the pair clearly have great chemistry, no mean feat when one performer doesn’t talk.
The humour is very dependent on facial expressions and loud noises. This isn’t to say that such things aren’t funny (they are), but different audience members may find their tolerance for gurning expiring at different points. The skits are mostly wordless and rely on the performers’ physicality. Sometimes it really works, such as in a sequence towards the end which re-enacts all the clumsy romance of a drunken tryst beginning in a club. Other segments, like a slow-mo symbolic swordfight, fall a little flat and leave the audience mildly amused but hardly rolling in the aisles.
You won’t see anything quite like Sexytime at the Fringe. It’s a bold piece of comedy, kept afloat through its lulls and rough patches by the charm and talent of its performers. If you don’t like your comedy to be brash, or vulgar, or to contain frequent mimed humping, you would best steer clear. For everyone else, there’s some raunchy fun to be had here.