SEX/CRIME

24 Jan

SEX CRIME **** 

BY ALEX GREGORY 

AT THE SOHO THEATRE 

The Soho version of Alex Gregory’s comedy thriller is an absolute knock out – even more emotionally disturbing than before. You can be helpless with laugher at his witty script and the next minute you are holding your breath in terror as the action between these two men intensifies. 

B (Alex Gregory) a muscular young man dressed in a vest, jogging trousers and trainers arrives at the plastic covered attic room. He has paid out all his money to be hurt. In love with murder, he wants to experience the physical feelings of the victims of serial killers. He is expecting to be killed.  

The online advertisement by A (Jonny Woo) has convinced him that here is the man who can serve him, fulfil the final humiliation.  A is dressed as a business man, he considers himself the true master of professional cruelty as an art form. Believes that one day Hollywood will make a movie of his life. “Not some shitty low budget British movie, a big American movie with a Macdonald’s Tie in. Figurines of me with Happy Meals.”  

There is violence in the play, but nothing is shown. Sometimes, the men are far apart, the lights go to total blackout and there are noises of kicking and screaming. When the lights come on, the two men are back in the same positions as before. It is as if the whole thing is happening in their imagination, but it is no less frightening for that. 

It is a strange subject for a comedy. It could be off putting for audiences, but during the almost musical exchanges between the protagonists no violence is seen. Much of the comedy and fun is the author making fun of the two guys.  The over active, gay young man and the dignified but conceited demeanour of the torturer. The acting is superb, the precise direction by Robert Chevara is brilliant and sensitive. 

This is a stunning production using a dark subject to make the audience laugh helplessly.  The quality of the script, acting and direction takes you in their hands and makes you scream with laughter and gasp with terror.  

The extraordinary setting and design are by Rocco Venna. It sets out the limitations of the stage area and the back -wall is covered with plastic as well as the sofa – obviously there is an obsession with cleanliness. The lighting by Mike Robertson is cleverly worked with spotlights and fairy lights and of course the necessary blackouts. 

 The play cannot end when you leave the theatre. There is so much hidden content that you need to return to see it again or get a copy of the play text which is published by Oberon Books and is on sale at the theatre box office. 

Sex Crime is funded by the Arts Counci. 

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