Fish and chips, sausages and mash, Dick and Dom – these parings are firmly part of British culture. Twenty-somethings grew up with them and kids today know their presenting work from TV, live shows and holiday resorts. The pair has been an intrinsic part of childhood for at least a couple of decades, and the audience, which includes everyone from families with small children to nostalgic students, is a testament to their popularity. Dick and Dom split the audience into two teams competing against each other to earn points, but the set tasks rely on humiliation of the audience volunteers, and the show’s theme perpetuates fighting and competition as normal and expected.
The show follows a simple gameshow format. Each of the rounds consists of a competitive task that is usually carried out by audience volunteers, but most of these tasks are embarrassing and/or disgusting. One of them involves blending a drink made out of ketchup, Marmite and Wotsits whilst wearing boxing gloves, then drinking it. The participants are given the chance to opt out, but Dick and Dom remind them that doing so would let their sides down, and the only way to win is to drink the vile beverage. Another troublesome moment includes references to fighting like "real men", a harmful concept that reinforces toxic masculinity. The kids in the audience love the gross-out humour and bodily function jokes, but, really, innuendo and harmful gender tropes are not appropriate for children’s theatre.