Was it good for you?

Navigating the intricacies of a one-night stand can be a tricky social and biological journey. This is the inspiration behind Rosie Harris’s and Luke Smith’s Was It Good For You?, a new play that aims to explore what we think about when we have sex. When the inexperienced Isaac and an unnamed girl click at a party, they quickly head to bed (via the essential MacDonald’s pit-stop). What follows is a minute deconstruction of the joys and insecurities that inevitably accompany a one-night stand, studded with cameo appearances by figures from popular culture.

Written and performed with obvious love and flair

The script is, for the most part, fairly accomplished. Structured around real-time dialogue, internal monologues and the aforementioned celebrity visitations, the piece operates along a cleverly disrupted narrative line. Aside from guiding the performance onwards, this structuring device is fully incorporated into the comic tone of the play, allowing for unexpected laughs as we cut – sometimes with impeccable timing – from one narrative frame to another. Elsewhere the comedy is generally well-pitched, drawing near-constant chuckles from the audience, and is textured with short gags (highlights include the girl’s party conversation and Isaac’s preoccupation with jazz rhythms) and longer set pieces which are invariably funny. However, not everything hits the right notes. There are points where comedy leans on cliché, and the script has a definite tendency to sag in the middle passages of the play. And visions of the famous coming to offer advice – ranging from a stern Mary Poppins to a misogynistic Clint Eastwood – are occasionally jarring. A helpful tool in working through the issues surrounding sex, the cameos are nonetheless capable of dragging on for too long.

It should be added that the play is not entirely light-hearted. Without saying too much, there is a sudden dark turn which is, I think, important to include in a project about one-night stands. While very abrupt in the narrative, with potential for slightly more anticipated integration in future developments of the play, this passage is executed well by both writers and cast who are able to shift to a serious mode with impressive ease. Although having said this, perhaps the unexpected nature of the moment is an accurate way to handle the issue.

Credit must go to Isobel Lewis and Chris Pope as the two leads. They are very comfortable onstage and in each other’s presence, and bring real charismatic warmth to the production. These two immediately loveable actors are the heart and soul of the performance.

Was It Good For You?, written and performed with obvious love and flair, is an entertaining hour of new writing that will have you laughing, and nodding, in sympathy.

Reviews by Sam Fulton

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Performances

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The Blurb

A play about a one-night stand. Two people are in the throes of passion and things start to pop into their heads, be it their own insecurities or the helpful advice of our favourite pop culture characters. Was It Good for You? is a play about the fluctuations between the honest and performative sides of sex and the expectations it carries with it, seeking to expose just how unsexy sex can be. ‘Impeccably written... pure comic gold’ (Mancunian).

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