the early years of the British Broadcasting Corporation, its first
Director-General Lord Reith established the BBC’s mission as being to “inform,
educate and entertain”. (Note: in
there’s no doubting this show is educational, informative and entertaining
We’re certainly given a steady flow of facts over the hour: that, every month, more people visit porn sites than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined; that men’s first exposure to pornography is now, on average, when they’re 12 years old; that, essentially, online pornography has replaced “behind the bike shed” as their main source of sex education. Oh; and that the Coolidge Effect is a behavioural phenomenon seen in most animals, and named after the former American President who once suggested that a rooster in a chicken farm wouldn’t have sex so often if it only had one sexual partner.
To put it another way, males (and to a lesser extent females) will apparently keep sexually activity far longer if there is are numerous sexual partners available—it’s the variety, rather than individual factors, that keeps them (and us) horny. So the core question co-writer and performer Robbie Gordon asks us is simple enough: in this internet age, what happens when the potential variety never stops? What then? If one of the characters Gordon portrays is anything to go by, it’s far from pretty: “a constant craving for variety can take you to places you don’t want to go”.
Co-written with director Jack Nurse, The Coolidge Effect is inevitably more tell than show, albeit with the neat trick of Gordon—a friendly enough persona, even when playing hooded rapper “Retrospect”—getting one scene performed by audience members. Some aspects are less successful—those dance movements, for example—but there’s no doubting this show is educational, informative and entertaining; Reith might not have approved, but it’s hopefully the start of a much-needed conversation.