Theatre Review: A Guide To Second Date Sex @ Soho Theatre

Thomas O'Connell and Amy Butterworth. Photo by Dan Patrick

Londonist went to see a sex show in Soho at 9.45pm. (TIM: Oh lordy, now they think I’m a perv, I started that all wrong — try again.)

Londonist went to review late night comedy A Guide to Second Date Sex at Soho Theatre. (TIM: Still sounds a bit trashy, don’t think much of that title, the readers probably won’t either…)

Despite its off-putting description, poster and title, this is one of the funniest and most honest shows you’re likely to see for a while. (AMY: Yes, the writer, Rachel Hirons, researched real-life people to get anecdotes you know.) (TIM: Who are you?) (AMY: I’m the actress from the show you’re talking about right now.) (TIM: Well, this could be awkward…)

TEA films and Dirty Stop Out have combined the natural forces of film and theatre for an hour of relationship-based comedy. Ryan and Laura are meeting for their second date…in Ryan’s bedroom. Will they, won’t they, have sex on the second date? Just how much Febreze is Ryan going to pump into the atmosphere before we all choke to death? And will Laura manage to shave in Ryan’s en suite in 30 seconds flat without savaging her nethers?

Not only do we get to be voyeurs of the fledgling couple’s awkward flirting and foreplay, but the audience get to hear exactly what’s going on in their heads thanks to some brilliantly insightful voiceovers. (TIM: Maybe I should have told them that earlier so that they knew what all these asides were about.) Of course this draws parallels with the likes of Peepshow, which is no bad thing, the main difference being the comedy is real rather than absurd, and women actually live in this world. We also get the classic flashback and daydream sequence which is expressed from neat video design, projected above the bedhead.

For the most part, it avoids being crass too, which is no mean feat when you’re watching two actors, in close proximity, trimming their pubes and then performing some spectacularly bad sex right in front of you. (AMY: Well don’t sit in the front row if you’re going to judge.)

The one-liners come thick and fast (TIM: Am I being crass now?). In fact, they’re sometimes half-liners, as the actors undercut themselves with another joke in voice-over. (AMY: Yes, that demonstrates many layers of comic timing between the actors and technicians…)

Amy Butterworth and Thomas O’Connell have flawless timing and fearless presence. It looks exhausting having to be that nervous/horny for a solid hour of stage time. If you fancy having a late night drink and laughing at people trying to mate, you can either go to any club, or avoid the sticky floors and occasional glassing and come see this instead.

(TIM: I forgot to tell the them that Cruel Intentions really was playing on the laptop the whole time…Well, if they see it, they’ll know what I mean).
(AMY: The director, Stef O’Driscoll, values heightened realism, which is why we do so much unabashedly embarrassing displays of skin and nerves. It made for very funny and unsexy rehearsals.)
(TIM: Thanks Amy Butterworth’s head-voice for participating in this strange review.)
(AMY: How many stars did we get?)
(TIM: We don’t do stars.)

A Guide to Second Date Sex runs until Saturday 30 March 2013 at Soho Theatre. Sold out, but 10 tickets released at midday every day. Londonist saw this show on a complimentary review ticket.

Tags: , , , , , ,