DISCLAIMER: If you are planning on seeing The Beast, I do mention examples of the "humour" used so if you want to go in completely unawares, it's best to read this piece afterwards.
Just back from opening night of The Beast at Melbourne Theatre Company and never has a show left me feeling so angry and so frustrated at what has been passed off as satire and humour. I was so deeply pissed off by this show that I could not even bring myself to clap at the end and for the majority of the second act I sat there grim faced wondering just how low this could go, and at each scene I was more and more surprised by the answer.
I want to be clear in saying that I was not offended by The Beast - not much anyway. I'm a very open minded person and I like to think I find the comedy value in everything and I have been known to offend people with my humour but there is always a tie in with what's being discussed. I don't just suddenly say "fuck I hate Jews" and expect people to laugh.
I was not offended by the cow killing scene. I thought it was quite creative and actually funny - and I am a vegetarian. Apparently a woman started crying during the scene which is bizarre as it is clearly a puppet-like cow but I guess people have different sensitivities.
What I have a problem with is the low levels Eddie Perfect has gone to to create humour, being offensive for the sake of cheap laughs. And not only that, it's almost like Perfect decided that the best way to get away with begin offensive was to fill the script with as many offensive "jokes" as possible, that way, no one can say it was sexist, homophobic or bigoted because EVERYONE was mocked. No. It does not work that way.
Having worked closely with children and the education sector for four years, I was mortified to see Perfect make light of the idea that all men are pedophiles. The response when the characters find out a male is babysitting their kids is to shriek that their son is probably "having a big dick stuck up his ass". This is completely unacceptable. At one school I worked at, men were forbidden from changing any of the children - I worked at a special needs school. The women, were fine, but men - never. Like the mere notion I have a penis means I suddenly have a predilection to having sex with children.
Which brings me to my second point, making fun of children with disabilities and aborting them. Really? The whole abortion scene was horrendous to watch and I can't believe the actors felt comfortable saying words such as "I aborted a downie". I don't recall anyone even laughing at that scene, and if they were, it was most likely because as an audience we have been trained to laugh at the awkward moments to make them bearable.
The rest of The Beast is littered with jokes about AIDS, black people, Jews and the holocaust, women being subservient to men and very pathetic dick jokes that you would have made in high school.
I know I am in a minority - the crowd cheered them on delightfully at the end, however, I did notice the majority of the audience were older, affluent looking white men so I wonder what that says. Perhaps people my age are more aware of such issues and they need to tackled with a lot more sensitivity if you're trying to raise a point?
Having seen The Beast has turned me off any projects that Perfect will be involved in in the future. Perfect might think it's acceptable to be so base because it is "satire". I think it's just wrong.
PS. Maybe I am a little offended...