Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Ulster Kama Sutra: A night of puppets and sex talk... with no strings attached

Nuala McKeever

It's not your typical candlelit Valentine's night out, is it?

On your own, in a room full of loved-up couples preparing, not to enjoy a romantic Indian meal but rather a salacious sub-continental breakfast of filth and funny-shaped vegetables.

Yes, Terra Nova's provincial counterpart to the ancient Hindu treatise on good living and better loving rumbled back into town on Thursday night like a battery-operated rabbit – not to be confused with the Duracell bunny. And any candles there might have been, certainly weren't used for illumination...

"It's going to get a lot sweatier," promised/threatened puppeteer Nuala McKeever  from the off, sending most of the couples that made up the packed auditorium into nervous giggles. Oh yes, did I forget to mention that it's all done with puppets?

The Ulster Kama Sutra tackles the oh so sexual issue of, um, sexual issue with a series of mucky muppets that, had it been a Sesame Street episode, would have been introducing the letters s, e and x and the numbers 6 and 9. The local trio of McKeever, Neil Keery and Caroline Curran were joined by the exotic presence of Shri Patel, who brought much badly needed sexual enlightenment all the way from mystical Wolverhampton.

What followed was a delirious whistlestop tour through sketches and songs that held up a mirror to our rather parochial apprehensions about sex and sexuality and found us with big ones. Parochial apprehensions that is. Fortunately, what could have been merely excruciating, was also very funny.

Sexual positions described included the Gerry Adams, the Fleg Protester and something called the Frank Mitchell.

All the while, the whole thing was saved from teetering into cringe by being fast-paced enough not to dwell on the duds, funny and well-observed enough to draw laughs of shameless recognition and most refreshingly, the Ulster Kama Sutra took itself every bit as seriously as the title suggested. That is, not really at all.

With tracks like the Hugo Duncan-inspired Frances Caught VD Off A Bloke From Tandragee waiting in the wings it was hard not to be beguiled by the dirtiest set of puppets since Matthew Corbett's washing machine went on the blink.

Us Belfast sophisticates, attached or otherwise, laughed like drains spiked with nitrous oxide.

And coming from a region where "erratic" can refer to both dodgy driving and dodgy lingerie, we couldn't have done much else in the circumstances.

JOE NAWAZ

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