Sex Ed: The Musical!

Fri 3rd – Sat 25th August 2012

reviews

Leah Eades

at 10:52 on 5th Aug 2012

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‘Sex Ed: The Musical!’ is pretty much what it says on the tin, as the opening number sums it up: “Let’s talk about sex! Let’s talk about shagging!” This is a musical about sex, sex education, and all things in between, and it is sometimes cringe-inducing, often funny, and a heap of fun. If you’re looking for a comedy musical that doesn’t take itself too seriously then this is the one to pick.

A comprehensive overview of all matters sexual, the performance followed our five sex ed instructors teaching wide-eyed teens Gilbert and Gladys all about the facts of life – and also learning a fair bit themselves (“You mean – you CAN get pregnant standing up? In a foreign country? If it’s your first time? Underwater? Outside? Inside? Oh my god! I’ve done all of those in the last two weeks!”). The production had a homemade, budget appeal that the cast embraced – set changes were marked by cast members walking across the stage with signs that, although initially saying things like “The Next Day” or “Sixteen Years Later”, soon progress to “If we had a budget this would have been a set change” and the starkly honest “Focus on the sign!”. The fourth wall is frequently broken down by repeated references to “the magic of theatre” and really got the audience involved.

The whole thing was delightfully silly. Never did I think I’d witness singing sperm sock puppets chasing a sexy egg puppet sporting a feather boa, women faking orgasms to a tune, or the humiliation of one audience member being dragged on stage, adorned with a massive sign reading “wanker” and having a jazzy song about self-love sung about him and his habits by a bevy of women. Physical comedy and dance routines often had the audience in stitches as they juxtaposed the smutty subjects being so sweetly sung about - for example the interpretive dance that accompanies “Should I Swallow (My Pride)?” and the onstage guide to various sex positions.

Our cast of sex ed instructors were a motley crew ranging from the sexually frustrated Barbara, “lie back and think of England” Bob and the terminally pregnant pianist Hildegard. My own personal favourite was Glenda, played to perfection by Isobel Wolff (who also co-wrote the play along with Emily Snee, who played the sexually liberated Agatha) – the woman in charge of caring for our emotions and feelings during this difficult time. Overall this comprehensive musical guide to all things sexual was by no means perfect – the gag of Hildegard being the forgetful harried mother-of-many was dragged out a little, and Barbara’s sudden lesbian affair was funny, but clearly just a means to get homosexuality into the play – but that’s missing the point, as the entire play is just unbridled silliness anyway. Go along, have a laugh, learn about that “special adult hug” you’ve been wondering about, and even get some free condoms thrown at you by Con Man, the masked condom crusader. A great and informative way to spend an evening: just try not to sing the words to yourself afterwards in public, as those tunes are damn catchy but will attract some strange looks.

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Chelsey Stuyt

at 13:09 on 5th Aug 2012

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Leading the audience down the fallopian tubes into a wonderland of smart squishy goodness, the ladies (and gentleman) of 'Sex Ed: The Musical' teach us that nothing should be swept under the rug (unless that's your kind of thing). From kinks to AIDS to pregnancy and your emotional well being, the cast and crew of 'Sex Ed: The Musical' keeps the audience laughing well off the edge of their seats.

The show begins with the arrival of our attendants in all matters sexual. Agatha (co-writer Emily Snee), our guide to the “outside” world, moistens our palate with her knowledge of all manner of sexual tastes and pleasures. Glenda (an absolutely fantastic Isobel Wolff (co-writer)) whose role as a teacher is constantly undercut by her lack of understanding, brings a warmth to the show that pulls the audience into her well-meaning embrace. However, it is Bethan Rigby, as Barbara, that really steals the show. Her facial dexterity and perfect comedic timing creates a character that runs off with the show between her legs – leaking laughter and delight wherever she goes. Finally, Vicky Buxton as Bob was the rock on which these mad characters could dance around. Without her, this show would have been swallowed by its own manic energy. Charlotte Saville and Tom Quinn were pitch perfect and provided the two characters with which the audience could truly identify – possibly the most important roles in the show.

At the hands of the whip smart writing, the theatre crackled with a mix of clever wit and comedic set-ups. Lines like, “vaginally tardy”, “congratulations on loving yourself so successfully”, and “beating around the bush, George W!” kept the hilarity rolling in a cauldron of cock-y delight. The songs should feature in any school sex ed course, and I, for one, would buy that CD in a heartbeat. Particular standouts were the Sperm song, “My bits are tingling”, “ and the rousing grand finale, “Go f**k yourself”.

Though the show has a fairly tenuous plot-line (documenting the rise and fall and rise and fall and rise of the sexual coming of age between Gilbert and Gladys), the real focus is on each individual issue as the pair progress through their relationship. The structure of the plot was brilliant and was well paced throughout the show. The director, Nicola Cartwright, managed to make the staging not only helpful but hilarious as well. The scene changes, through the magic of theatre (and a few sheets of cardboard), were perfectly in line with the vibe of the show and kept the audience energized and engaged during the transitions.

This show was hilarious and I cannot praise it enough. It's original, hilarious, and informative in a way that only the best theatre can be. I wouldn't change a thing. Plus, they give you free condoms. From Con-Man. You can't beat that.

(well you can, but leave that til you get home)

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