Man-Cub: thrilling, sexually charged world of the first-time club kid

Enter the thrilling, sexually charged world of the first-time club kid! A voyage of self discovery, uncertainty, with more than a hint of danger.

 

Man-Cub, devised and directed by Alistair Wilkinson, is a piece that is part dance, part movement-mime, laced with a few spoken soliloquies. The sound track is insistent and pulsating with hypnotic club tunes and anthems. Wilkinson has taken as his theme, the line from The Jungle Book: ‘[Mowgli] came naked, by night, alone and very hungry, yet he was not afraid!’

 

Alex Britt is the titular Man-Cub, a wannabe club kid Twink on his first ever night out on the queer scene, trying to get past security and enter a den of excitement, sexually charged awakening and experimentation. He joins an attractive and engaging cast who take on the roles of the fellow dancing and writhing clubbers, telling the story of innocence, inclusion, acceptance and rejection, wordlessly through dance and movement. The hot and sweaty hedonism on stage soon envelopes the audience.  Britt, in dungarees-shorts looking so waif like, to begin with, naïve and questing, is gradually drawn in by the boys and girls around him. He learns quickly. The Jungle Book motif is there. The clubbers, animal like – panthers, bears and snakes stalk their new prey.

‘I wanna be like you’ mournfully sings a spurned club boy, at one stage, very much an underlying message throughout the piece.

 

However, there is a definite darker undertone evoking the animalistic, predatory and sinister base nature of man-kind. As well as entertaining the audience, Wilkinson intentionally makes one feel uncomfortable at times.  Lurking beneath the euphoric excitement of the sexually charged clubbers is the potential for malice and disaster – yeah, your average Saturday night out.

 

Man-Cub is evocative, capturing well, what it is like to set out on an uncertain path to adult-hood. Wilkinson has brought together a cast that gels. Their energy and enthusiasm for the work is infectious. There are elements that feel spontaneous and improvised, and sometimes it feels like a work in progress. So, this deserves to be worked on. There is an opportunity here to continue developing the scope of the piece, bringing the audience something even more ambitious in scale.

OutSavvy rating: Highly recommended 

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Man-Cub
King's Head Theatre, London
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