The cast of <i>Naked Boys Singing</i> rehearse at the Malthouse Theatre.

The cast of Naked Boys Singing rehearse at the Malthouse Theatre. Photo: Eddie Jim

Reviewer rating:

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Presented and directed by Jonathan Worsley
Beckett Theatre, until May 12

''WHY make a fuss/ when it's obvious to us/ you're here to see/ gratuitous nudity?'' Why indeed? Seven Naked Boys Singing, accompanied by live piano, the odd bow-tie, trench coat and chef's hat, serves up, when all's done and feather-dusted, a pretty conventionally camp take on life as a young gay Aussie male: yearning for sex and romance, getting off on the more casual and objectified kind, sexual identity guilt, celebrating ''beating the meat'', and an apparently inexhaustible list of words for the penis that would have had my 10-year-old son taking notes.

This show is a mixed bag of 14 musical numbers that display scant attention to any overall shape or coherence. The show doesn't work as a story-musical and is inconsistently clever lyrically and vocally to be provocative cabaret.

Amid the intermittently well-sung, entertaining bits, this bemusing skin-fest contains a confused positive sexuality and empowerment message, but is too flaccid, finally, to pull it off. If Naked Boys Singing is aimed at a particular kind of gay male audience who simply wish to delight in the camp of it all, then it works. But if it's hoping for a wider audience, then the ensemble's skills and the show's intention need to be far stronger.