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.