It was with absolute delight that we welcomed The Sex Shells, the VERY GAY sketch comedy group that all of East London are talking about, into our basement last night.
Self-described as “gay sketch comedy with crabs” the riotous quartet of comics – who go by the names of Le Strange, Calum Mac, Dom Top and Thanyia Moore (plus the recent addition of a saucy assisting pianist Rose) – gave much more than could reasonably be expected from a young start-up comedy group. But it soon became clear that each individual within The Sex Shells is frothing with talent. They filled The Glory’s glistening Hole with stamping feet, frantic clapping and animalistic cheer. Despite the torrential rain and Mary Berry’s best efforts to keep the gays indoors, The Sex Shells came, and they conquered.
They even arrived with their own trailer…
Many of the sketches focus around the gay urban experience, zooming in and making razor clam sharp observations on gay after-parties and chill outs, the visceral and verbal war against romance behind the cowardly yet deadly mask of Grindr, and surprise surprise – the boys all seem to share a love for vapid girlish pop music and musical theatre!
LE STRANGE, with cascading Boromir hair and endlessly flowing carafes of camp, radiated in a sketch that juxtaposes the florid language of great poets and the intense passion of steamy erotic fiction (both presented as piss-takes and parodies themselves) against the vapid, lacklustre pedestrian ping pong of Grindr.
THANYIA MOORE, a biological female who happens to be not that gay and also quite black, shines in her position as inbuilt compere. Acting as a surrogate mother to the ridiculous triptych of gay offerings, Thanyia appears in some sketches and manoeuvres others, she brings along some solo material too about her background in New Cross and going to school in Kent that in itself wouldn’t look out of place on Live At The Apollo. Her ENERGY (which she has in tank loads), charisma, charm and intelligence commandeers The Glory. It is, in short, a complete joy to be in her presence. She holds The Shells in orbit and offers a touch of reality that in parts is much needed.
CALUM MAC meanwhile is an ambitious dessert that pulls itself off, using a base layer of emasculation (base in all senses) that becomes a springboard for hyper-assertion and silver-tongued wit. Self-effacing and very confident, with captivating Christine Baranski-like flashes. He’s the small teenage boy dancing on his bed, and he’s the man holding the gun. His song about showerheads is hilarious and poignant. You also get to see his packed lunch quite a lot.
DOM TOP, no stranger to The Glory as scene editor of QX magazine in another life, is the final suit to complete the Sex Shells’ deck. With a Spanish impression that has can only have been honed across decades of pillow talk, his bewildered eyes take no prisoners as he pirouettes and muscle-flexes his way around the show, dining on tampons and orgasming on cue. His modest one-liner delivery hits the spot every time.
If you missed The Sex Shells last night then POOR YOU. What were you doing that was SO IMPORTANT? However, we are thrilled to announce that they will be returning to The Glory and are already preparing for an appearance next month. WATCH THIS SPACE. Well, not this actual space because this is a blog post that is about to set sale forever. But watch the other spaces babe…..
Sex Shells 5/5
Words: Jack Cullen