“Hey, you know what gay people like?” is how I imagine the pitch for Naked Boys Singing began. “Show tunes,” says the producer. “And you know what else they like? Penis.”
It’s not hard to see what the initial attraction was in pumping out this cheap, mercenary video of the off-Broadway hit, but the result is incredibly lifeless, failing to deliver either memorable tunes or hot wang.
Naked Boys Singing delivers exactly what it says on the tin — a bunch of guys singing and tapping their way through Broadway-inspired tunes about dicks, voyeurism, and porn, all in the buff.
Well, sorta. They’re clearly lip-syncing — where would they hide a mic?
The idea of combining nudity with song and dance is nothing new. Burlesque performers have been doing it for decades with varying degrees of artistic recognition. The best of them use raw sexuality and biting lyrics to indict the audience for subjecting the performers to their lustful gazes.
Unfortunately, Naked Boys Singing seems to have been written to be as tourist-friendly as possible, so while the boys sing about porn and sex and erections, it’s all with a painfully camp wink and smile as if to say, “Don’t worry, I’m not actually a sexual person.” It’s like watching a chorus of eunuchs.
Inevitably, part of this comes from the fact that none of the performers gets hard during the show — perhaps too embarrassing for the performers/audience? Perhaps the difference between performer and peeler?
Even when they’re singing about getting erections, they remain stubbornly flaccid.
The show is also cut together with distractingly spastic editing that makes it impossible to get a good look at any of the performers, and features a ridiculously low-tech intro that looks as if it were shot on home video cam.
This is one to leave on the shelf, I’m afraid.
Fun Fact: This film actually credits someone as a costume designer.