It’s four years since George Steeves brought his Magic 8 Ball show to Edinburgh, winning the heart and mind of at least this reviewer with such an honest, bold theatrical collage of spoken word and song narrating George’s somewhat confusing childhood and early adulthood as someone with Asperger’s. Love and Sex on the Spectrum is, in some respects, a sequel, given it continues with the previous show’s near-final big reveal that he’s actually gay.
George’s story is surprisingly universal; and one delivered with heart, skill and engaging honesty
In form, though, this new show is quite different; not so much theatre as stand-up, with George re-moulding his material to fit the small rectangle of the room’s “stage”, while holding onto a microphone as his only prop. And you know what? For someone best known as an actor and singer, he’s remarkably good at it: there’s a real sense of energy in the room as he shares the often humorous, always authentic, ups and downs of his sudden flowering as a sexual being with a smartphone and a clear desire to catch up for lost time. (Swipe left!)
Many people with Asperger’s are “late bloomers”, he tells us: George is honest in describing himself as both asexual (and desperate to be straight) for the first 27 years of his life. So the heart of this show is partly about how that – remarkably quickly – changed, and how trying to find “the one” for a longterm relationship can prove to be a particularly dangerous addiction for someone “on the Spectrum”, for whom restrictive repetitive actions are quite a thing. Even though, for a time, he thought he was “so picky” when it came to potential partners’ age, height and hygiene.
At the top of the show, George apologies for all the American references he’s going to use. Thankfully, the likes of Justin Timberlake, Sex and the City and Glee are sufficiently well-travelled not to require too much translation: that said, various 1990s horror film references may be more challenging for some. In any case, despite some necessarily US-based specifics, George’s story is surprisingly universal; and one delivered with heart, skill and engaging honesty.