As protesters gatecrashed the vote No event organised by the Coalition for Marriage a suburb over, it was only too fitting for the audience to file in to find the members of Po Po Mo Co arranged in the obscure image of what could be described as a human centipede wedding – or more poignantly the worst (queer) nightmare of the Australian Christian Lobby. From the depths of white satin Precious Cargo emerges glorious, and so begins the delightfully cheeky and free-spirited hour of performance and perplexity that is Recreation & Leisure. If there is one thing we can rely on Po Po Mo Co (Post Post Modern Comedy) for, it is their commitment to exploring and expressing the absurdity of the world around us, emphasising the queer quality where it is very much needed.
The visceral and the animal are very much playgrounds for this collection of comedians, and the results of their explorations leave one relishing in delight. When three spandex clad unicorns emerge from the wings, and inspire the audience with the gleeful embrace of the jiggling body, they beg the question of why we don’t see life through these eyes everyday. The rhythm from one performance to the next reflects a fleeting, awkward and uncanny take on the world. Where else can animals celebrate their sexuality, netball become so arousing, and babies become so perverse?
With every flick of a hoof and jolt of the hips the audience is taken to the part of the mind where these questions are asked, and where Po Po Mo Co gives an answer. Such enthusiasm to blur the line of being and performing is an accomplishment of this troupe. They dance deftly around the point of the audience not being sure whether a glitch in the music is intentional, or if the performer did intend to spin so fast they launched off the stage into the curtains. Regardless, the upshot is pure delight, stage dives and all.
Like aliens experimenting with the human form, attention eventually turns towards the twists of contemporary Australian identity. Here we find ourselves discovering that things do make about as much sense whether the joke is a metaphor or literally a football fan lost on stage at the Fringe Hub. It is possible to find as much connection with an ice cap as a human in this show – but that’s by no lack of accessibility on the human part.
Rather it is the tasteful direction of Liz Skitch, weaving together these queer perspectives from all parts of the world that is Recreation & Leisure, that brings clarity to such chaos. It is perhaps a telling coincidence that the slices of human life dissected with wit and wiggling are as trapped in their circumstance as the melting ice caps – blessed we are to have Po Po Mo Co to give us a hearty reminder to sit back and embrace such a ludicrous environment as ours. With every knowing look they push us to test ourselves, and see how silly – how saucy – we can allow ourselves to be.
At a time when the right to publicly promote homophobia has been disguised as the right to respectfully decline people to love other humans they way they wish, it can be hard not to think that we live in dystopia. In its own wacky way Recreation & Leisure reminds us that the No campaign is right when they fear that same sex marriage is a Trojan horse (or rather, unicorn) just waiting to spill its contents of weird and wonderful queers all over society. But what they might not yet be aware of is that Po Po Mo Co are one of those unicorns, and they are already spreading their electrifying energy everywhere in sight.
Recreation & Leisure is playing at the Fringe Hub in North Melbourne until the 30th.