STC Studio until Feb 3
The director Mel Cantwell and Pinjarra-boy-making-good iOTA combined to much acclaim last Fringe in The Average Joe, and they team up again, joined by Russell Leonard and a 12-piece WAYJO orchestra, in Slap and Tickle (iOTA is Slap the clown; Leonard his gimp) in the STC Studio.
iOTA, who's made quite a name for himself over a 20-something-year career, operates in the disputed territory between drag and clownery, and he's awefully good at both. What's much, much more, though, is that he's a witty, quality songwriter with a mighty, flexible voice, and the dozen or so original songs he crams into a very busy hour are instantly accessible and surprisingly memorable.
But wait - there's more! His sidekick Leonard is an inspired casting. He's a big bloke – vertically and horizontally – more Canterbury Bankstown than Cabaret Ballet, but he moves that impressive bulk of his with rhythm, athleticism and quite some grace.
Cantwell's done a terrific job packaging the whole affair up, and Mace Francis and his hot 12-piece WAYJO orchestra is a luxury I'm glad the show could afford.
This is a show that would knock 'em dead at the Rooty Hill RSL (haven't times changed), but, in the meantime, you should let it beat you up good and proper right here and now!