Puppetry of the Penis
Pleasance Above ***

Exactly what it says it is - no more and certainly no less: two unassuming and personable Australians do dick tricks. Manipulating their genitals into various objects and landmarks, they give you an eyeful of the Eiffel Tower, a cute little joey in a pouch, the Loch Ness monster and the Duke of Edinburgh. Kentucky Fried Chicken puts you off the idea altogether. Proceedings are also videoed and displayed on a large screen for the full, close-up effect. Men in the audience tend to spend the whole 50 minutes with their legs crossed and, thankfully, there are no chances for audience participation.

Once you've got over the initial pop-eyed "ouch" factor, this turns out to be a gently witty, surprisingly charming little show. It works because the guys are nice, apparently normal (well, as normal as anyone who waves their penis about for a living could be) and unembarrassed. Their patter is entertaining, and everything is done with a high degree of decorum. They may be flashing their genitals but they keep their socks and beanie hats on.

This is more Blue Peter than toilet humour; it has everything to do with origami and nothing to do with sex. The extraordinary, non-threatening flaccidity of the organs is one of the most fascinating features of this show. This is the penis de-sexualised. It is a freak show, but in the best possible taste.

I very much doubt even your great-granny would find it shocking, though she might wonder if it is art and worry about the long-term medical implications of using the penis like a pipe-cleaner.

Don't try this at home.

Till August 28. Box office: 0131-556 6550.


Lyn Gardner

The GuardianTramp

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