MANLESS MAMET Toxic Masculinity & Tequila

Gryphon Theatre, 22 Ghuznee Street, Wellington

14/03/2019 - 16/03/2019

NZ Fringe Festival 2019

Production Details

MANLESS MAMET is a feminist, female two-hander comedy; a boisterous romp simultaneously pushing the boundaries of female aggression and putting the toxicity of masculinity under a drunkenly held microscope.

Manless Mamet gender-bends catcalling and focuses on the hyper-masculinity and toxicity of this kind of language. Plus, there’s a lot more tequila.

Post show, those invested in the themes explored are invited to share their impressions with the performers in the Gryphon (FatG) bar.

A content note:
This show contains explicit language and references to sexual violence.

Gryphon Theatre, 22 Ghuznee Street, Wellington
Thursday 14 – Saturday 16 March 2019
General Admission $10.00
Fringe Addict $7.00 
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Wheelchair access available

Theatre ,

25 mins

Packs a well-crafted punch

Review by Emilie Hope 16th Mar 2019

I walk in (a little late, sorry!) on disgustingly over sexualised Disney puns. Oh boy, I’m in for a ride, aren’t I? The two women on stage (Courtney Eggleton and Lydia Raynes) are talking about sex in a hugely crass way, “locker room talk”, and this is THE POINT OF THE SHOW. Let’s talk about toxic masculinity, baby, let’s talk about you and me – men and women. 

Manless Mamet does clever role-reversal by giving the women the hyper-toxic-masculine demeanours and conversations. Eggleton’s character (who I will name Crass #1 for simplicity’s sake) is the typical, disgusting, hyper-sexual masculine character (even though both characters are women) and does an incredible job of portraying this sincerely.

Raynes’s character (Crass #2) is that guy who just doesn’t ‘get it’ and is too nice. When Crass #1 tells her to say hello to an audience member (as in say hello *raised eyebrows, licks lips*), Crass #2 goes in for a handshake and says “nice to meet you.”

Crass #2 also falls under the ‘I’m in love with my best friend’ trope, but while this makes the character sweet and endearing, I would have liked to see it stay more on the #nohomo side of the toxic masculine conversation, where genuine displays of platonic affection are deemed uncool by Crass #1. 

The show is split up into four scenes. The first and last both take place in the bathroom, while the second scene takes place at someone’s house, post (initially non-consensual) coitus, and the third scene on the beach.

[Spolier alert?] In the first scene, the women are trying to amp each other up for a good night, knowing they’re going to ‘get some’, hence the Disney puns. There’s a hilarious nightclub dance number which is very much dirty dancing, where Crass #2 definitely accidentally reaches climax.

The next scene shows them discussing their exploits, where Crass #1 discusses the age of her lover: “Eighteen, twenty-one, fifteen, who can tell these days?” and also brings up the consent issue: “…and you know what he said? ‘No.’ Ha!” They go on to start chanting “Queen of dicks! Queen of dicks!” concluding that this was the best sex Crass #1 has ever had.

The beach scene is where obvious eyeballing of the audience happens, they blatantly objectify male members of the audience (“I’m a penis hawk!”, “That one, over there, with the ‘fuck me’ eyes!”), even calling out their (uncredited?) male co-star who comes on to sun bathe: “It’s better when you smile, love!” […ends]

The show ends on the realities of women and sex, how we are objectified, used, and discarded like toys, leaving us in a very sombre disposition after such massive laughs.

Don’t let the 10:15pm time slot deter you, nor the twenty-five minute length. This show packs a well-crafted punch. I have to explicitly say that I really enjoyed this show, despite my uses of the words ‘crass’ and ‘disgusting’. This show made me laugh at the ridiculous nature of it all, and simultaneously, as a woman, deeply hurt me as this kind of behaviour is normal for so many men. I left feeling disgusted and perplexed in the best possible way, scared and hurt in a way that makes me want to encourage all men to see the show.

The best kind of theatre is tough and leaves you with myriad of emotions to sift through. This show reinforces something I, as a woman, already know and encourage men to change: this toxic masculinity got to stop. Now. Please.


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