A risqué comedy that once drew a complaint for its name alone, promises to bring the house down when it airs at the Old Fire Station in Oxford.

Sex, relationships and assumptions about what is normal will all be explored in Spare Prick, the latest show by Balancing Act.

Group founder Joe Graham said: “It’s a play about being the odd one out – what it’s like to be that one person who feels different from the rest.

“The characters are a married couple and their single friend, who is getting back into dating but is finding it difficult. They’re always trying to set him up and he’s tried speed dating and the internet.

“But as the play progresses, we eventually find out whether it’s really him who’s the odd one out in the trio or if it’s one of the others.”

Although it’s primarily a comedy, there will be moments of drama as the play reaches a climax, interspersed with fantasy scenarios fired by the characters’ imaginations.

“I would describe it as an outrageous comedy – there are times when it goes quite far,” he said. “You won’t want to bring your kids, but you’d be welcome to bring your granny. We’re not setting out to shock anybody.”

Mr Graham formed Balancing Act with the intention of bringing together talented and committed people, on stage and off, to produce his own plays.

The group itself provides an intriguing mix of professional and amateur theatre, aiming to blur any distinctions between the two.

The cast is made up of two men, who have worked as professional actors, and a woman who isn’t a full-time actress. All three obviously have no fears when it comes to the stage, which is fortunate considering the short time scale in which the production is put together.

“We haven’t started rehearsing yet,” said Mr Graham. “We rehearse for a week before the show – it’s a method that works and we’ve done it before.

“Part of the reason we do it in the one week is because it’s easier for the professionals. Most amateur dramatic groups rehearse productions for months, meeting for a couple of hours, twice a week. Here, we work on it solidly for a week and then we’re ready.”

The group has already enjoyed success with one-act plays in various drama festivals, winning awards at events in Abingdon, Wallingford and Oxford.

It is not the first time Balancing Act has come to the Old Fire Station – 2009 brought A Fistful Of Mondays and the year after saw Fun Run, in one of the last productions to be held at the theatre before it was closed for refurbishment.

Mr Graham said: “Spare Prick was originally performed in the Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham in 2004. It has been slightly updated and edited for this coming run.

“When it was in the Everyman it was a fully professional production, so this time round it’s a whole new thing for us. I’ll admit we did have a letter of complaint when it was first shown, but it wasn’t anything to do with the content. They were upset about the title – we hadn’t actually started rehearsing yet when they wrote in.”


The play runs from Thursday to Saturday, September 12-14. Tickets cost £12, with £10 concessions, and are available from wegottickets.com /balancingact