We are here to answer the first and most important question on your mind when you think about whether to go and see Late Night Gimp Fight at the Soho Theatre: it’s okay.
No, seriously, it’s alright. “Late night,” you think, mouthing out the words at your desk. “Gimp fight?” The answer to the question – “will I be able to look my mother in the face after going and seeing this thing?” – is yes. “Will I get violated, up my bottom?” You will not get violated up the bottom.
Late Night Gimp Fight is actually a complicated cipher for “five dudes who just had their first big boy haircut since leaving university”. They specialise in sketch troupe comedy with a treacle-dark core, and have a sideline in high-camp song and dance routines. Oh, yes, also: dick jokes. Pretty much all of the dick jokes.
It is hard to imagine where Late Night Gimp Fight would be without pointing to, mentioning or at least pantomime gagging on their penises, yet without the undercurrent of dark and wrong sex that flows beneath the majority of much of Gimp Fight’s skits, the troupe’s material is strong.
Well, strong-ish. They open with a pretty naff rendition of Born This Way — “We’re on the wrong track baby / we were born this way” – which quickly dissolves into dick giggles. But things improve from there, seeing the quintet perform skits involving ultraviolet paint and some old stage sleights, intersected with video skits that see a gimp-masked member of the troupe spliced into famous film scenes. Variously, it’s puerile, it’s inventive, it’s fun. It does occasionally feel like you’ve wandered by accident into a sixth form talent contest for posh kids.
Ultimately, Late Night Gimp Fight are good at what they do – just unpolished enough to be funny when they break into song, competent comedy performers, and the quintet have excellent chemistry on stage. They just need to give the standard-issue radio sound effect of flies unzipping a bit of a rest.