Puppetry of the Penis - “Live”

SKY CITY THEATRE-return season, Auckland

13/05/2013 - 18/05/2013

SKY CITY Theatre, Auckland

12/05/2009 - 17/05/2009

Opera House, Wellington

19/05/2013 - 19/05/2013

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details

The world’s most famous, and strangest puppeteers are heading to a venue near you in February, March & April with their international smash hit show. The world-wide popularity of the performance has seen them sell well over a million tickets to audiences of all ages and continues to be wildly popular with Australian audiences.

Puppetry of the Penis was initially conceived by Simon Morley as the title of a highbrow art calendar, showcasing twelve of his favourite penis installations (known as “Dick Tricks” to the uninformed layperson). It was on New Year’s Eve in 1997, with a garage full of calendars to sell and burgeoning requests for live demonstrations, when Simon finally decided to unleash his talent on the world. His natural choice of performance partner was David “Friendy” Friend, whose reputation as the life of any party was quickly growing.

Their debut at the 1998 Melbourne International Comedy Festival was a huge hit, kicking off an eight-month tour of Australia. The national tour covered 20,000 kilometres and was captured in the documentary Tackle Happy. The show has had extensive runs on Broadway & in the prestigious West End in London and there are now several “Puppetry” troupes touring on 3 continents amazing and delighting audiences with their comedy & sheer brilliance…and unlike most “modern” live comedy, there’s no swearing or innuendo in the show either, just two guys being really silly with their willies.

They have performed in front of hoards of celebrities including Elton John, Bono, Posh and Becks, Jackie and Joan Collins, Jessica Simpson, Hugh Grant, Naomi Campbell and John Travolta to name a few. They have done thousands of radio & TV interviews across the planet, including gaining the highest ratings for the year when they performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and the UK’s “Big Breakfast”. The only complaints received seem to be that the lads didn’t take their clothes off!

“…definitely worth a look, if not for the hamburger then definitely for the visually painful windsurfer!” The Age 

Dates:  Tues 12 – Sun 17 May, 9pm (7pm Sun)
Venue:  SKYCITY Theatre, Cnr Wellesley & Hobson Sts, City
Bookings:  0800 TICKETEK (842 5385) www.ticketek.co.nz
Tickets:  Adults $34.90 / Conc. $31.90 / Groups 10+ $31.90
Show duration:  70 minutes

As part of the 2013 NZ International Comedy Festival


Date: Mon 13 – Sat 18 May, 9pm
Venue: SKYCITY Theatre, Level 3, Cnr Wellesley St & Hobson St 

Date: Sun 19 May, 9 pm
Venue: The Opera House, 111 – 113 Manners St 

Bookings: 0800TICKETEK www.ticketek.co.nz
Tickets: $39.90 – $44.90 (booking fees may apply) 

For the sweetest deals and hottest comedy news throughout the Festival head to www.comedyfestival.co.nz

Limber, skilled, unbeatable stage presence

Review by Lucy O'Connor 20th May 2013

Staring in the mirror, splashing water on my face wondering what abuse of the retina is about to occur, I cannot help but think whether my mother thinks she has failed me. I go into this with the honest thought that it will shock me into some sort of nun state whereby I could never take a man A) seriously and B) literally again. Mum probably hopes the same thing. A life of asceticism.

My first vow as a converted nun? One will use no penis puns throughout this entire review.

Enter into the foyer. Now, there are obviously going to be women at this show. At least 90% of the attendees do not possess a Y chromosome. And strangely enough, everyone seems dressed to the nines. Not surprising is the fact that everyone has a glass of wine in their hot little hands to take the edge off.  The first man I see – how exciting – is blonde, well dressed and… proudly gay. 

Descending into the Opera House gets a little more interesting. A couple who share about 160 years between them walk hand in hand. I wonder who the instigator was! Next to me sits a Polynesian man who is extremely comfortable with his legs hip width apart and one fist resting on each thigh. A gentleman resides next to a group of girls. He is obviously the doting partner of the one next to him. How sweet..?

Enter the stars of the show. No not the puppeteers, but the gaggle of middle aged women who place themselves directly behind me. “Oh, good seats, right in the middle,” one raves. “Well done Sharon.” Well done indeed, Sharon. I’m glad she is happy. I myself am also seated bang in the middle. I am tempted to apologise to my seat – “Thanks but this just won’t work” – and creep out to the fringes so as not to be forced to stare down the barrel of a … (first failure as a nun).

Alright, alright, to the actual show we go. Enter Sammy and Willow, the renowned puppeteers. Sammy and Willow? Please, what fitting names.

Sammy is tall, dark and handsome with Johnny Depp-ish hair. He emits cheek and excitement as he whips out pun after pun and laughs at each one. A 10-year-old in the body of a man. Willow is smaller in stature with innocent(ish) blue eyes and spiky blonde hair. You may note that faces are a strong focus for me. That’s visual enough thanks, especially on the first date. They emerge wearing floor length velvet capes. Hopefully this is just a flash of skin, nothing too offensive, and they’ll disappear.  Unlikely.

The capes are ditched. Yup, hey, there they are. Wow. A slightly intoxicated girl screams, “Show us your sh*t!!” Perhaps a Mormon? The boyfriend sits with a plastered semi smile on his face but his gaze veers off to stage left. Subtle, so as not to upset his girlfriend. The Polynesian man next to me starts to laugh whole heartedly. Obviously an appreciator of fine art. But the lady behind me whose voice is a magnet to my ears says, “I’m glad my phone’s on vibrate.” Crucify me.

We are told that CGI will be used to ‘enhance’ and ‘embellish’. What that basically means is that their members will be blown up on screen with a suitable setting for whichever arrangement they have undertaken. I think I’m ok with the distance established. Thanks, but no need for embellishment. Praise I’m not in the front row.

You can use your imaginations to recreate the following scenes using penile realities. 

First we go travelling to the city of Paris none the less. What a treat! I’ve actually been to Paris and truly the best thing, like everyone says is the Eiffel Tower! In my memory it was a little more industrial, a little less… skin.

To Australia we go! There’s Ayer’s Rock! More like Ayer’s something-that-rhymes-with-rock-but-starts-with-c. Thanks CGI, you’re really setting the scene. Who would have thought we would be lucky enough to see a kangaroo. With a baby Joey! Oh. How…. cute. Cuter than the pelican at least.

Time for a quote from Sharon’s friend: “I can see Charlie doing something like this.”

We are even treated to a few movie trailers. E T brings back memories. And what crosses my mind and makes me feel a small yearn for my childhood innocence is that this this depiction is probably the most true to form so far.

As with every great show, there has to be audience participation. My prayers are with the poor girl who has the birthday today. Hopefully the sweat from Sammy as he goes to collect his victim, sorry, participant, has not dripped down too far. He is running pretty enthusiastically.

Up she goes (calm down nuns, if it was up he goes then it would be a pun). She seems in good spirits as she prances on stage and her facials are so appropriate anyone would think she was a plant. A fruit bat which hangs upside down from a tree is constructed by Sammy and birthday girl. Cue Sharon’s friend: “Lucky she isn’t a little shorter.”

A hamburger ‘how to’ session is undertaken; not a male in the crowd wants to promote their skill on stage. I swear some women start to take notes. It could be an interesting night for the men in their lives. 

It ends (I can’t help but say end!) with a jingle. The older lady is asked to assist so they can play the piano piece by saying “You two have been naughty boys” in a naughty voice. She sounds a bit like a dominatrix but Sammy and Willow obviously like that as the jingle plays without a hitch. They don’t use their hands at all.

Limber is a word and one I’d use to sum up this show. Skilled? Sure, I could never do anything like that for lack of motivation. And equipment. Sammy and Willow are very entertaining and have an unbeatable stage presence and confidence. Did I mention they were Australian? 

I’ll leave you in the capable hands of Sharon’s friend: “Well, what can you say?” Amen to that.


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The balls to go public with privates

Review by Cherie Moore 17th May 2013

I’m not quite sure what to expect as I sit down at SkyCity Theatre for a night at Puppetry of the Penis. I’ve brought my most squeamish friend with me, so I figure watching her watch this show will be entertainment in itself. There’s a bubbly crowd of mixed gender here tonight and we’re in for a communal viewing of penis puppetry: the ancient art of genital origami.

Onto stage, in capes and converse shoes, bound Sammy and Willow. Sammy is handsome and vivacious and Willow has a boy next door cheek to him. After an energetic introduction, the capes are off and the boys are fully nude – apart from their shoes and socks, which looks quite funny. The woman next to me (not my friend) shrieks “I can’t stop looking!” Yes, I’m in for a good night. 

Sammy and Willow waste no time getting into their dick tricks! The ‘installations’, as they call them, include geographical landmarks, food, animals, and transport. The lady next to me intermittently cries “OH MY GOD!” The audience is delighted and in disbelief. The banter between the performers and with the audience that happens while their members are being manipulated is natural – it never feels scripted – and their comic timing is spot on.

The installations are projected onto a big screen and CGI is applied to contextualise the installation – ‘the tongue’ suddenly is protruding from a face, ‘the Loch Ness monster’ is swimming in a Scottish sea. Jade, who has the tech job, must know these phalluses like the back of her hand. 

For a show about penises it is incredibly innocent – there’s no mention of sex. Really, these men have taken the curiosity of little boys fascinated with their willies, and put it on stage. Yes, it’s a bit voyeuristic, but that’s part of the point. They’ve even created a penis puppetry instruction manual you can buy – just in case you were really inspired by the show. Maybe you will be – go and see it and find out!

It’s a fun night out with skilled performers who have the balls to do in front of an audience what many have done in private (and if you liked that pun, you’ll love Sammy’s barrage of them throughout the show).


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Genital slapstick

Review by Candice Lewis 13th May 2009

Arriving late, Mum and I enter the theatre to a glorious sight. Two naked men. We instantly feel welcome and settle into our seats wearing smiles befitting this experience.

"Are they real?" whispers my mum
"What do you mean?"

She thinks they might be wearing a ‘plastic mould’ that looks like a penis, but with growing delight realises they are definitely the real thing.

As the show unfolds (like a strange man’s contorted cock) she wants to know if they will be sporting actual erections at any point. The answer is no; that would be a very different kind of show costing more than $35.90 a ticket.

The two strapping Aussie blokes are very comfortable in their skins, a necessity when grabbing handfuls of your own scrotum and stretching it into vague approximations of a boomerang or wind surfer.

Simon Morley devised the show more than ten years ago, and bought in David Friend. I’m no sure who was who, but I think the blonde one is David with a nick name something like Dacca or Wacca.

Of the two, Dacca takes the mike more often and is charming in that boofy Aussie way. His delivery is at times hurried; perhaps playing to an audience of contemplative Aucklanders is a bit off-putting.

The only extremely vocal audience members (aside from my mum) seem to be the screeching Aussie girls behind us. Or maybe they’re Westies?

Although the puppetry itself is amusing, I think the sheer novelty of being able to stare freely at attractive naked men is one of the best things about the show.

My mum is worried about the little lump on Dacca’s chest, hoping he will get that checked by a doctor soon. She is also intrigued by the way his penis ends with what looks like a deflated teat or balloon tip. Yes folks, we are really looking.

My favourite ‘dick trick’ is when Simon presents us with his impersonation of Yoda. I can’t elaborate, but I am deeply moved. The force is strong with that one.

This is humour at the lower end of the spectrum, or should I say scrotum. If genital slapstick (ha ha) is your bag (hee hee) then this is one you won’t want to blow off (snigger).

From what I’ve heard, The Puppetry show is now a franchise and so anyone with the right set of balls can be the kind of dick who plays with himself in front of an audience for a price. Otherwise, you can always buy the book and perfect these dick tricks for your family and friends for free. What a gift, a spurt of inspiration! 
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 



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