BWW Reviews: Walking Shadow Theatre Company's THE SEXUAL LIFE OF SAVAGES is Sexual Indeed
I'm not one to talk numbers. I never have been nor will I ever be willing to discuss the number of conquests and how it relates to overall sexual prowess. In my opinion, NBC had it wrong when they coined the phrase, "the more you know" because for me ignorance is bliss and I would much rather live a life of blissful thinking. I only mention this because it's a typically cold, Minnesota evening when I see Walking Theatre Company's production of THE SEXUAL LIFE OF SAVAGES, and the two-hour production begins with the very question, "what's your number?"
Walking into the theatre I had no idea what I was about to witness. What I did know is that a tiny sign at the box office revealed there would be nudity in the performance. Oh boy, nudity---more on that later.
Ian MacAllister-McDonald's premise is fairly simple when it breaks down. Hal (Joe Bombard) is dating Jean (Meghan Kreidler) and upon asking her the infamous, "what's your number" question is shocked to find out she's at a total of 25-not including him or the number of guys in which she performed oral sex. Shocked and a little hurt by this reveal, Hal is thrown for a loop and seeks advice from his close friend and co-worker Clark (Nicholas Leeman), who reveals not only is that a fairly low number but that he and his wife moonlight as swingers. Mind blown. On the flip side, Jean seeks advice from her confidante, co-worker and lesbian friend Naomi (Megan Dowd), who presents the idea that if oral sex "doesn't count" she's been without sex for five-years, so like it or not oral sex counts and Jean should own it. Booyah, good point. In the thick of it all, Hal confronts Jean, ultimately "slut-shaming" her and leading to their break-up. I guess you didn't need to know that but you could've probably assumed it nonetheless. Finally there's Alice (Clare Parme), a substitute teacher and virgin working temporarily at the same school as Hal. Single and desperate to find that perfect girl, Hal tries dating Alice...blah, blah, blah. That's the story and I know it may not sound simple but I'm sure you can piece it together if you think about it for longer than a minute.
MacAllister-McDonald's script is witty, sharp, explicit and packed with quite a few one-liners that kept the lively Monday audience laughing. But the script could ultimately use a few clips, at least in my opinion-specifically the monologues each character is forced to share that seem like an odd attempt at letting the audience peer into their lives and inner struggles-but again, this is only my opinion. Maybe some people enjoyed those moments; I only know that if there were a remote on the chair beside me I would've quickly hit the fast-forward button.
Director Amy Rummenie does a fine job selecting and leading the ensemble cast in this fast-paced, adult romantic-comedy, that isn't all that romantic. The pace clicks right along, never pausing for too long. Bombard is pretty good fit for the role of Hal. He is skinny, awkward and wears glasses (nerd alert!!) so when he reveals his number to an unimpressed Jean, you think how did he even manage that. Kreidler is honest in her portrayal of Jean. Though she disappears for most of the second act, she does well with her time on stage.
Leeman is fast-talking, crass and I might even say fearless in his portrayal of Clark. A man who can whip out his penis for a crowd full of spectators deserves at the very least a mention. But it's not just his penis---it's his comedic chops and overall presence on stage that are worthy of recognition. Dowd is equally talented in her portrayal of Naomi, who is almost the lesbian version of Clark---though we don't see any boob action on her end.
Leaving the theatre, I was left with a few unanswered questions. Ultimately, I would've liked maybe a little closure from even just one of the characters. There was so much build and no resolution. And sure, we can go about our night and infer what we want from the script but sometimes I just want someone to tell me the answer. Especially from a script that isn't necessarily the most revolutionary piece of theatre---I mean, I don't think anyone really experienced a life-altering epiphany during the show but I could easily be wrong.
This production is by no means safe for children, anyone easily offended or anyone who begins to blush when the topic of S-E-X comes up in conversation. But if you're someone who likes jokes that feature genitalia, and raunchy punch lines...this is a play is for you. I know I'm a sucker for a good dick joke, and boy did I get enough to last me for at least another month.
THE SEXUAL LIFE OF SAVAGES by Ian MacAllister-McDonald and directed by Amy Rummenie plays now through December 14th.
Walking Shadow Theatre Company, 711 West Franklin Avenue, Minneapolis, 612-870-0723, walkingshadowcompany.org.