Witty, adroit and very original, there is nothing unseemly or smutty about this show and it is not loaded with baseless no toilet jokes but clever humour and even moments of poignant reality.
As all men know, their penis is one of their best friends and so a theatre piece about Tom (Richard Falkner) in conversation with his best mate Tom's Penis (Sam Hallahan in a superbly designed costume by Luke Hawker) is quite logical. Writer Dean Hewison has put together a very innovative piece of writing which the two actors bring to the stage with great confidence and clarity under Hewison's astute direction.
Tom's Penis is always with Tom and shares with him all the trials and tribulations of Tom's journey through life, which although specific to Tom and portrayed as very real to him, is the journey of every bloke ever born.
From the pain of circumcision, to the embarrassment of being too small to the rigours of teenage masturbation to the ecstasy of losing his virginity, Tom and Tom's Penis share with laughter and pain all that occurs during some of the most intimate moments of Tom's life.
But it's not all best mates as conflicts arise when what Tom wants is in opposition to what Tom's Penis does.
Premature ejaculation and impotency cause problems between the two, Tom's Penis even suggesting Tom could be gay.
And as age creeps up on Tom and the complacency of his long term relationship with his girlfriend sets in, the actions of Tom's Penis when Tom is drunk one night in a night club has dire consequences, ending his relationship.
Now home alone Tom's Penis suggests that he is never too old for new sexual experiences and encourages Tom to try self fellatio, one of the many hilarious sequences in the show.
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James Wenley - The Daily Blog'he laughs begin to bubble in the dark as we see a familiar silhouette enter the stage, and as the lights go to full we can’t help bursting with laughter as we are confronted with actor Sam Hallahan wearing a giant costume of a phallus with a remarkably authentic texture and attention to detail – right down to the ball sack hanging beneath him. The outrageous costume is the star of the show, and I am impressed...'open/close
If you can work up the courage to ask “Do you want to come to Conversations with my Penis?”, you might just be rewarded with a night of feel good action.
Sorry. For a comedy play that bills itself as a “touching two-hander”, it’s hard not to also join in the innuendo fun. The laughs begin to bubble in the dark as we see a familiar silhouette enter the stage, and as the lights go to full we can’t help bursting with laughter as we are confronted with actor Sam Hallahan wearing a giant costume of a phallus with a remarkably authentic texture and attention to detail – right down to the ball sack hanging beneath him. The outrageous costume is the star of the show, and I am impressed.
While our penis-narrator says he’ll get all the “dick jokes” out of the way at the beginning, much of the show’s humour relies on sly (and not so sly) innuendo, and they continue to come thick and fast throughout the show.
Thankfully Conversations with my Penis aims for much more than the schoolyard humour, and Dean Hewison’s show at times is a reflective, and yes touching examination of one man’s relationship with his penis. Conversations easily gets the men relating and empathizing (especially when he feels excruciating pain ‘down under’), but the women too seemed to appreciate the insight into the trials and tribulations of the male sex organ (or so my partner tells me).
The show canvasses the obvious stereotypes around the penis - size, performance, duration, masturbation, losing virginity – with the writing cleverly taking us on a journey by showing Tom at ten year intervals at different life stages.
Richard Falkner (the lead in Director Dean Hewison’s film How to meet girls from a distance) plays Tom as a typical, frustrated kiwi bloke, not always smart and slightly emotionally stunted. I wasn’t sure about Sam Hallahan’s characterization of the penis as a sort of pseudo-intellectual English type. It felt like he either needed to play the penis more straight (letting the costume do more of the work), or too push it to a further extreme, as it is he currently plays it in an uncertain middle.
While there is much mutual affection, the relationship between Tom and his ‘anthropomorphallized’ penis is often strained. The writing goes a bit limp when it reverts too regularly to showing long disagreements between the two. The script would certainly benefit from a snip. The biggest laughs came from moments of farcical physical comedy where they were able to best exploit the imaginative possibilities of a giant phallus onstage (I love his dancing at a club). Less foreplay, more action.
The show ends on a climax that is one of the most memorable things I have ever seen at The Basement.
Gazing at this show’s title conjures up expectations of some sort of luridly masculine take on the Vagina Monologues; by all means though don’t take this shows name literally, it is anything but a man hunched over and having a chinwag with his member.
The premise is true, this is a show about a man talking to a penis but it is somehow tasteful, witty and respectfully artistic. The two characters are separated; the “my” is Tom played by Richard Faulkner and the “Penis” is a fully operational suit animated by Sam Hallahan. This duologue plays on the phallic adage of where the true home of a males brain is and the relationship of the two minds is relayed by biographing Tom’s life in chunks. Yes, there are more jokes than you can shake a dick at but there are touching, serious issues at play too empathizing with and forcing a dialogue about modern masculinity. Rejection, STDs, sexuality, impotence and prostate cancer are all examined, balancing the schoolyard wit with truly dark moments. The relationship between the two characters is somewhat antisocial (promiscuous, alcoholic) however it is relayed in an accessible way, offering depth of character.
I cannot reiterate enough the surprising tastefulness of this piece, Writer Dean Hewison deserves credit for somehow marriaging phallic absurdity with theatrical class.
Liam Golds - KeepingupwithNZ.com'The set really shines though in the way it illustrates a man’s ever-changing relationship with his bits over the years. The show checks in on Tom and his penis every ten years, always in a moment of awkward self-reflection, as he grapples with the problems of every man before him: Constant teenage masturbation, the drunken foolishness of youth, or the routine of a long-term relationship. It’s a smart setup that provides plenty of material... 'open/close
Conversations With My Penis, written by Dean Hewison, is show revolving around just that. One man’s many in depth discussions with his genitals. Tom and his penis are inseparable. Together they share a beer, talk about their feelings, fears and anxieties, and experience the struggles of retaining a friendship whilst growing old. The penis in question is represented here by one man in a giant rubber costume.
Of course, you’re enjoyment on this show will depend almost entirely on your tolerance to dick jokes. It becomes apparent very quickly that willy puns and cheeky, sex-based asides will take up the majority of the show’s hour long runtime. The undeniably impressive suit provides pretty constant entertainment, but I found myself growing tired of the wordplay after awhile. Every now and then though, something will slip out that made the 10-year-old boy in me giggle uncontrollably.
The set really shines though in the way it illustrates a man’s ever-changing relationship with his bits over the years. The show checks in on Tom and his penis every ten years, always in a moment of awkward self-reflection, as he grapples with the problems of every man before him: Constant teenage masturbation, the drunken foolishness of youth, or the routine of a long-term relationship. It’s a smart setup that provides plenty of material. Even if some of the actual jokes can feel a little creaky, the story itself is oddly compelling