Sexual Fears of a Modern Day Virgin

Sexual Fears of A Modern Day Virgin. Not the snappiest of titles, but they say sex sells. The place is packed with slightly bashful people, all acting casual, but all intrigued by a show billed as an exploration of virginity. It's nice to see this Fringe marketing campaign working for Rant and Rave Theatre Company, who have forgone the theatrical vogue of naming shows with snappy one word titles. This could easily have been called ‘Sex' and featured a racy, provocative, meaningless poster, but it’s mouthful of a title gives potential audiences a better idea of what they're getting themselves into.

An entertaining exploration of LGBT persons

In a tiny studio on Infirmary Street, the cast of five chatter their way through a peculiar fifty minutes. Connor is shocked, but supportive, when his boyfriend Ben reveals on their one year anniversary that he identifies as a woman, Ellie. This would be a bit of a bombshell for most, but they resolve to work through it and move in together. Meanwhile, sardonic young art student Jordan, played with excellent humour and endearing self-awareness by Lewis Wilding, struggles with his indifference to sex. At the same time, a lesbian couple, one adventurous and the other rather more cautious, experiment in the bedroom to spice up their relationship.

Taken scene by scene, this is an entertaining exploration of a credible world. By and large the acting is strong, with convincing characterisation from most of the cast creating believable LGBT persons who aren’t entirely defined by that fact. The company are quick to point out that the piece was devised by the actors during rehearsal, and while this is impressive, it also explains the curious disjointed effect of the overall play. No meaningful crossover between the sets of characters takes place, and the scenes in which they do meet feel rather contrived. The script too, while often solid in Jordan’s scenes, begins to indulge itself in scenes between Ellie and Connor, rising in drama but lapsing into peculiar repetition. All this can be forgiven: each story is coherent within itself.

Sexual Fears of A Modern Day Virgin’s only pressing issue is its confusing message and foggy dramatic purpose. Two of its stories have no real conflict to resolve, while the third, which asks the intriguing question of how a gay male relationship could respond to one partner transitioning to the female sex, comes down so heavily on the trans partner’s side that it fails to accept the legitimacy of Connor’s discomfort and therefore inadvertently turns Ellie into the unreasonable, emotional female stereotype.

Rant and Rave have created something with potential. It's just hard to shake the feeling that it needs a little more polish.

Reviews by Andrew Forbes

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The Blurb

Kids these days! No one knows what they’re up to. Well, we do and we’re willing to let you in on the secret. What if I told you that you know nothing about sex? You don’t even know what a virgin is. Would you believe me? Well, we have two couples, one singleton, and 50 minutes to show you how. Let us guide you through the cheeky, romantic and eventful lives of our five characters as they lose their virginities, for the second time.