Let’s talk about sex, baby. That’s the premise of Grant Busé’s show, The Birds and the Beats. Armed with only the basics (mic, guitar, and loop pedal) the Melbourne-based performer welcomes the audience to class and proposes to teach us Sex Ed 101. It’s apparent from the first song, the titular “Birds and the Bees”, that Busé won’t be pulling any punches. He raps verses over looped beats that include lines such as “I’m sick of metaphors, similes, analogies. Let’s talk about sex. Fuck the birds and the bees”, before launching straight into a verse explaining sex, sans the metaphors.
Busé, an actual teacher, takes us on a journey of curiosity via his younger self speaking to his present-day self, asking the kinds of questions he wishes had been answered by his sexual education. His topics (and songs) range from the horrors of intercourse in the animal kingdom to the importance of “no glove, no love”. At one point, a song about BDSM that begins with Busé listing experiences he’s had (with the audience encouraged to woo! if they’ve had a similar experience) becomes a song about a loss of trust. The mood only dips for a moment though because this begets an innuendo-filled segue into a discussion about why we still don’t use condoms.
Performed in the cosy BoardRoom at RAJOPOLIS at Raj House, where the back row is only a few metres from the stage, The Birds and the Beats really does feel like a lesson, or conversation, where the audience readily participates and elicits reactions from the performer. This is encouraged right from the first song in a call and response, then continues as Busé asks the crowd what they wish they’d learnt in Sex Ed (among other questions), and finally when he opens the floor to questions about his own sex life. The result is an intimate atmosphere where it doesn’t feel odd to hear a stranger sing very frankly about their sexual experiences.
Underpinning the hysterical jokes and original songs is an important theme that Busé urges us to take home: we need to be teaching kids more than just the biology of sex. We may have been taught more about playing the recorder at school than informed consent, but that doesn’t mean we can’t improve sexual education for kids today.
And when class is over, it’s not hard to see why Busé’s musical Sex Ed is such a hit. The Birds and the Beats is an ingenious comedy-music show that will make you laugh ‘til you cry, bemoan your own sexual education, and leave you wondering just how you’ll explain the birds and the bees.
Words by Amelia Heffernan.
The Birds and the Beats is playing at RAJOPOLIS at Raj House until March 18. Tickets available here.