Midsumma – The Year of Magical Wanking Review

When one of Ireland’s most incendiary performers arrives in Melbourne, you simply must go and offer your utmost attention. When first performed at Dublin’s cultural hub, Temple Bar, the power went out but the show continued out on the snow covered street where he was lit, remarkably, by the audience’s phones. Critically acclaimed at the Dublin Fringe Festival, Neil Watkins, with production company THISISPOPBABY, presents  The Year of Magical Wanking at Theatre Works for a brief period.

Part of Midsumma, new artistic director Daniel Clarke’s Theatre Works season recedes from the perfunctory waves of obligatory gay parties to program the dramatic Men at Work season that comes as an impressive overture. (Watch out for MKA’s Theatre Works season next month)

Neil Watkins in The Year of Magical Wanking.

The stage is presented to us, bare, simply marked out by white tape to contain the man in a smart dark suit over a plain white t-shirt. Here, with succinctly executed and enunciated verse, he delivers a soothing yet commanding account of  that year, when he goes from one heady hit to another, the capacity of his fulfillment met only by the consumption of more drugs and fetishes ranging from leather paraphenalia to sounding.

In spite of the suggestive title, the show does not dabble solely on his penchant for spanking the monkey, but delves deep into dangerous dark depths of finely nuanced emotions shrouded thickly by Jesus, judgment, and a denial-infused lifestyle, heightened by his addiction to sex. If you’re lucky, you will relate, your subconscience whispering into your ear, and be swept up by its force right up to the moment of redemptive clarity. It is adult, yes, and not just in the naughty sense.

It is the most powerful, unabashedly honest and yielding play I’ve seen in a while. Going to see it would be a very sensible thing to do.

Here is a video I found made for the Absolut Fringe Dublin 2011. The words have been re-written (for Australia,) ever-changing, like his appearance, but the crux of the performance is there.

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