Puppetry of the Penis

Off-Broadway, Play

Theatre: Barrymore Theatre

BOTTOM LINE: Dumb, juvenile fun...two men form their genitals into different shapes. You were expecting something different?

I somehow won a pair of tickets to Puppetry of the Penis, so I finally got my chance to check out this show, which had a decent run in New York several years back. The general gist of the show is in the title - two men perform the “art of genital origami” pulling, shaping, and twisting their “tools” into various shapes including food, the signature Hamburger; animals, the Sea Anenome; and modes of transportation, the Roller Skate).

What can I say? It is what it is, juvenile, but potentially fun. The two young men (Rich Binning and Christopher J Cannon- both in their 20s) are perfect for this show. They embrace the silly humor, and quickly make the audience feel comfortable. This is not an erotic show at all, nor should it be. But yes, the puppeteers are naked for almost the entire show. As they narrate and prepare the various “dick tricks,” a video camera is aimed at the results, magnifying each trick so that everyone in the audience can see it. (Watch out for the aisles though - there are poles that may obscure your view of the screen).

There were a good number of people there on the Wednesday night I went- mostly women, some of whom had brought men along with them. There were also several pairs of (presumably) gay men. And this makes sense - the show probably appeals to those who don’t mind spending some time looking at two naked (and attractive, which surprised me!) men play with themselves. The women seemed to laugh a lot more, I’m assuming because the “tools” are somewhat foreign, and so the “tricks” seemed more strange and surprising.

At one point, Rich and Chris asked if any man in the audience wanted to try a trick with them, and to my surprise, a guy went on stage; he dropped his pants and made the Hamburger! I can’t be sure, but he didn’t look like a plant to me - his face was a bit flushed, and he looked both excited and embarrassed, “I can’t believe I’m doing this.”

The show is 90 minutes long, but the first 30 minutes is taken up by one of three female comedians. I saw Amy Schumer, and although she was funny for a few minutes, I thought she soon lost the audience. I’m guessing the comedy is meant to be a warm up to the main event, but for my friend and I, it actually did the opposite...we were having less fun during the intermission than we were when we first walked in. Hopefully the other two women are better; if not, you can always get a drink during intermission. Or to avoid the comedian altogether, you can hire the puppeteers for private parties (I’m not kidding).

(Puppetry of the Penis plays at 45 Bleecker (just east of Lafayette Street). Right now, tickets are on sale through September 13. Performances are Tuesday at 7pm, Wednesday through Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 7pm & 9:30pm, and Sunday at 7pm. Tickets are $39-$59. The show is about 90 minutes, with one intermission. Visit to buy tickets, and for more info. Between September 8th and September 20th you can also try the “20 at 20” program ($20 tickets 20 minutes before the show). See for details.)