I managed to snag a last minute ticket to Tim Key's Masterslut during its London run. Wholly unfamiliar with Key's work (and a little suspicious that based on the title it was not my cup of tea) I ventured in without any context. I was pleasantly surprised by the show. Somewhere between the absurd poetry, the odes to bathtubs (actual bathtub included), and the audience interaction I found myself falling for Key's wacky charm. Key's performance was quite varied. From film clips, to physical stunts, to his poetry, to the deconstruction of the poetry, it was a substantial 80 minute show.
After my unexplained resistance to Simon Amstell I was wondering if I was a one British comedian type of girl (Daniel Kitson or NO ONE). But it turns out I'm a little more British comedy slutty than I thought (well I already knew I liked Josie Long so I was already kind of cheating on Kitson). Key sets up his pull backs and reveals very skillfully. He undermines expectations in a delightful way that were both clever and smart. Speaking of a girl he invited back to his apartment "To be fair, she was more a situation than a girl." His set-up about the pornographic playing cards that he has laminated
his poems to provides a great number of jokes about the unexpected. For some reason one of his poems really caught my fancy: "Some of the other cubs convinced Kenneth there was a badge...for arson."
Key has a goofy persona but one that takes himself and his bath-loving endeavors quite seriously. Baths are as he calls them "nature's womb." I enjoyed his banter with his technician and driver Dougie. I found the image of Key and Dougie careening around the English countryside with a bathtub in the back of the van trying not to spill any water quite funny.
There was a lot of audience interaction. After Key's stints in his bathtub (yup) he was toweled off by a member of the audience. Key enjoyed the lavish attention furnished by his male towel bearers at
the show I saw. He interviewed audience members over their bath-time proclivities. There was a part in the show where he has the audience put together a sentence one word at a time by each person in a row. Our audience group started with the word "strawberry banana". We ended up with a sentence about a person called Strawberry Banana. Key's improvised response to this was "If Vera Drake had been called Strawberry Banana it would have been a different story." True indeed.
I guess Key doesn't perform much (at all?) in New York so he's one to look out for at the Edinburgh Fringe and on tour in the UK.