After an hour of a narcissistic one man show, we were left with the dilemma of whether to applaud the honesty of Sam, or be totally appalled by the stark exposure of his personality. It was difficult to distinguish whether the sleazy persona which greeted you on arrival and thanked you upon leaving was an act, or whether it was the real Sam throughout the show as he narrated five sexual encounters he had experienced on a site called Craigslist.
He may have brought the audience together, but it was only due to the shock at his distasteful portrayal of personal experiences.
The performance largely depended upon audience participation. While partakers were enthusiastic and seemed open to anything, the interaction seemed unnecessary; a bizarre miscellany of balloon popping, voice recording and carrot peeling distracted from Sam’s stories, rather than enhancing them with immersive sound effects. Sam challenged his assistants and his audience to answer many of the 36 questions which are designed to form the basis of a deep, meaningful relationship between two people, based on a study. His attempts were bold, but the pushy delivery designed to ensure comfortability had mixed results.
Aside from Sam’s offbeat transfer of information, the show as a whole lacked cohesion, linked only by the countdown of the five encounters. There seemed to be no correlation between the props and his stories, besides the fact they added to the absurdity. His candid, often crude, discussion of sexual acts was interspersed with Sam seeking reassurance from the audience that they were alright and that they didn’t have any questions – though there were probably many unspoken queries. Casual nudity was unnecessary even to the avid theatre-goer, and it was more a display of egotism than a portrayal of courage in its rawest form.
The point may well have been to see how close a room full of strangers could get over the course of an hour in a ‘safe space’. Though the experimentation had the potential to be interesting and produce surprising results, there was no conclusion to the show and the audience were left rather alienated from Sam and his experiences, especially his odd delivery and conversational tone when discussing sex. He may have brought the audience together, but it was only due to the shock at his distasteful portrayal of personal experiences.