by Laura Ferguson
Katie Boyle plays the titular Pat Goldsack and her demeanour is every bit the sprightly elderly citizen. She stands on stage charming us with her grandmotherly ways with many a “Hello, dearie,” and “Yes, love, I remember you from last time”. This eases us into the evening, knowing many a laugh will come from the many puns and sexual innuendos that begin the show. These breezily become explicit sexual outwardendos as Pat gets her first volunteer on the stage, to help right herself after failing to demonstrate the importance of stretching to us. This interaction is hilarious and has the audience laughing as Boyle jiggles around while encouraging her volunteer from behind her. Needless to say, the first of many hijinks ensue.
It is in these moments I am thoroughly impressed by the physicality Boyle has put into this performance. The hunched shoulders, appearance of joint stiffness in the lumbar region, and wise twinkle in her eye all culminate into a well-rounded character. The directing of Alexander Sparrow has clearly come into play here, making sure that every movement in and around the stage epitomises the elderly Goldsack.
Pat Goldsack’s Swingers Club and Brothel is all about setting us up for a hedonistic evening and we are introduced to rules as we go along such as safe words, consent, and making your dreams come true once the other rules are observed. Pat Goldsack also enthrals us with anecdotes from her past as we go along, one of my favourites being a story in which she loses one of her husbands and has to try find him in a series of local pubs. Boyle’s ability to turn from comic to tragedian crystallises in this portion of the show. In one interlude, our laughter quickly became tantalised curiosity from thwarted romance, the air in the room still with bated breath, a hush settling over us before just as easily veering out into full throttled laughter again.
The camaraderie in the room made for some fantastic moments and Boyle’s ability to make volunteers feel safe and entertained ensured we maintained the show’s sense of fun and didn’t shirk away from portions when participation was called for. In fact, some of the best moments seem to be orchestrated organically by Boyle whose excellent improv capabilities are highlighted throughout the show. There was one moment when one volunteer had to help another with something a little risqué and the moment of them taking the time to shake hands and introduce each other before performing the instruction sent us all into fits of laughter. Boyle’s sense of timing and letting these moments happen while grinning furtively immerses us further into the experience and is a pure joy to watch.
Pat Goldsack’s Swingers Club and Brothel feels like the first in a set of shows. The set-up of telling us the rules and allowing us to get settled intrigues me to find out what would happen afterwards. Would there be more hilarious audience interaction? Will our comfort zones be tested? Will our wildest fantasies come to fruition? I don’t know, but if future escapades with Pat Goldsack’s Swingers Club and Brothel are anything like this one, I’ll look forward to finding out.
Pat Goldsack’s Swingers Club and Brothel is on at Powwow until Saturday November 3rd. You can buy tickets here.