Review: The Future Of Sex Brings Your First Student Disco Horrifically Back To Life
Sometimes all you want to put in a review is 'trust us, you’ll like this'.
At Uni in 1972 not only was everyone in your hall of residence also a virgin — nobody had access to porn either. So apart from wondering whether you’d pop your cherry at the freshers' disco, you were also pretty much in the dark about how.
Despite the pumping beats and headlines celebrating the swinging 60s and the white heat of Harold Wilson's technological revolution, at the start of the next decade, the unglamorous lineup of students which opens 1972: The Future of Sex speaks only of a seat-wetting fear of emotional and biological unknowns.
The Wardrobe Ensemble navigate this threshold to perfection. With a breathless panache and without any of the aching worthiness that attaches itself to 'collaborative theatre'. So many productions set in the period opt for sardonic pastiche but TFOS embraces it wholeheartedly from the loon-pants and tank tops to the Hendrix-to-Joplin hairstyles but also with dynamic energy as the cast careen about the stage in their paired emotional collisions, then abruptly pivot to an edge-of-scene microphone to deliver sharp narration.
It's this fissile fluidity that draws you in to some slightly-plotted scenarios: the anxious fresher and her eager infatuation with a lecturer, a first lesbian crush, and a Bowie fanboy bedroom-miming in a smear of glitter and lipstick. From this distance though, they have conviction and charm which is not undermined by the bleaker future of some of the characters suggested by the contextualising narrative.
The blurb — including a programme riotously disguised as a pretentious student zine — might have you believe this is a treatise on gender and power, but it's more a high-octane romp through the trials and tribulations of first exchanges of bodily fluids— the ideas are really exchanged only subsequently.
First rate performances throughout; as it's a genuine collective you can’t really name names but Tom Brennan and Jesse Jones deserve their share of directorial plaudits.
1972: The Future of Sex continues at Shoreditch Town Hall until 23 April. Tickets £12.50 from this website. We saw this production on complimentary tickets.
Last Updated 20 April 2016