Spawn and Die

This article is from 2007.

Monkey business

‘We may be the last two civilised people in America,’ says Susan McIntosh, as she lights a cigarette. We’re in the middle of a park in uptown Manhattan on a Saturday afternoon, and as the sun beats down on us, it’s at first difficult to imagine the apocalypse she forecasts. But she has the persuasive guile of a good university lecturer, which funnily enough, is what she does when she isn’t filling off-Broadway venues with her one woman act, or appearing as one of her many characters on MTV. It sounds an odd mix of professions, but McIntosh’s brand of comedy, as presented in her new one woman show, this time sans characters, would certainly appeal to a more thinking audience. The gist of it is that we’re all descended from the wrong kind of monkey.

‘It’s maybe time for a much more rational and cuter animal to evolve,’ McIntosh explains. ‘I’m hoping for the bear – I don’t think they’d destroy their natural habitat. Basically we’ve evolved from the wrong chimp. We should have evolved from the benobo – they solve all their problems with hugs and oral pleasure. No high school, no hummers, no real estate, no war.’

There’s a political commentary under this act which forces us to look at our emotional and sexual mores through the bigger ideological picture. ‘I think that misery, and particularly sexual repression are inherently part of capitalism. Emotional non fulfilment is the state we’re put in when everything is product, so that people become more miserable and empty, and buy more crap to compensate,’ she says.

And how does she carry out her mission? Well, partly through singing, dancing and comic monologue, and partly through a slideshow. ‘I used to work for the developmentally disabled as an art therapist. When I left, I stole their sex education slides – I’m that kind of employee. I’m using these in the show; if they work for developmentally disabled fourth graders, they should work to show a live audience what they should be doing with their sexuality.’ (Steve Cramer)

Underbelly’s Baby Belly, 0870 745 3083, 4–27 Aug (not 14), 9.30pm, £8.50–£9.50 (£7.50–£8.50). Previews 2 & 3 Aug, £5.

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