Pretending Things Are A Cock (2hoots Productions) 2015 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Jon Bennett provided by company

My (face) cheeks are still a wee bit sore (in a good way), several hours after seeing 2hoots Productions’ one-man stand-up show slash photography exhibit, Pretending Things Are A Cock, part of the 2015 Toronto Fringe Festival.

Much like the lady I chatted with outside the venue, I had no idea what to expect. I’m a sucker for swears, lowbrow humour, phallic references, and adolescent dick jokes. I’ll be honest: the promise of “over 300 pretend cocks” is what initially grabbed my attention. Being a fan of photography sealed the deal, and I knew I had to see this show.

And I’m so happy I did. What an experience! While the show is part stand-up, part photographic exhibit, it’s also about stories – sometimes painful, sometimes touching, sometimes uncomfortably hilarious – of performer Jon Bennett’s childhood traumas, travels, family life, and more. It may seem juvenile to some on the surface, but this performance goes way beyond dick jokes and puns. It gives you a glimpse into Bennett’s history, humanity, and humility, while also telling the tale of how he (and now scores of other phallus-inspired folks) began turning things into cocks. I greatly admire his dedication to this photographic endeavour – and the photos were certainly a highlight.

Even before the show began, Bennett joined us from the stage and got the laughs rolling. For me, the laughs didn’t stop – I literally laughed until I cried – and I even found myself chuckling on the streetcar ride home, and later at the grocery store. I wasn’t the only one. The crowd – some participation was encouraged – howled loudly and often. He just grabbed my attention, brought the hilarity and realness without reservation, and didn’t let go. He was also kind enough to translate certain Australian dialectic items Canadians may not be aware of. I now know what a “door snake” is (aside from being a pretend cock).

The only slight negative, and it is very slight, is the pace at the beginning: some of the slides move quickly, as does his speech, and I found myself wanting just one more second of the “cock” photos.

I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard, and I’d recommend Pretending Things Are A Cock to anyone who’s not offended by dick jokes, adult language, phallic symbols, and graphic descriptions of certain bodily fluids. Be warned: you may leave with sore (face) cheeks and stomach muscles, and feel inspired to create your own fake cock art.

Details

  • Pretending Things Are A Cock is playing until July 11 at St. Vladimir Theatre (620 Spadina Ave)
  • Tickets are $12 in advance, $10 at the door. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
  • Tickets can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062), from the festival box office down Honest Ed’s Alley (581 Bloor West), or from the venue box office starting one hour before the performance. Venue sales are cash-only.
  • Be advised that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and latecomers are never admitted. Set your watch to CBC time, and arrive a few minutes early to avoid disappointment
  • St. Vladimir’s runs very cool, and you may want to bring a sweater

Remaining Showtimes
July 04 at 12:30 PM
July 05 at 11:00 PM
July 07 at 06:45 PM
July 08 at 09:30 PM
July 10 at 11:30 PM
July 11 at 03:30 PM

Photo of Jon Bennett provided by company