BWW Review: YOUR MOTHER'S COPY OF THE KAMA SUTRA at The Museum of Human Achievement

BWW Review: YOUR MOTHER'S COPY OF THE KAMA SUTRA at The Museum of Human Achievement

YOUR MOTHER'S COPY OF THE KAMA SUTRA begins rather sneakily, with Amber Quick singing in an informal hootenanny with Michael Ferstenfeld, Howard Burkett and San Patrevito who function as a sort of house band for the play. They sing a collection of 80's and 90's songs in the old warehouse venue known as the Museum of Human Achievement and what they achieved, quite by accident, was a moment where they transported me back to old 1980's Austin. The setting itself is clever, feeling like an old coffee house, a couple of books as a centerpiece on your table, topped by a fake flower in a simple glass vase. On closer examination, the books were vintage self-help sex manuals, like The Joy Of Sex.

Amanda Perry's set design seems to grow naturally out of the venue's vibe and is the very definition of minimalist, with the most striking element being a wall of two by fours, arranged to make even frames along the back wall, each containing a vintage lamp with no shade. Those lights get lit in varying combinations as part of Natalie George's succinct lighting design. The costumes, by Aaron Flynn are perfect for each character. Alexandra Bassiakou Shaw's direction makes great use of the venue's unusual L shaped stage, even coming off the stage and down the stairs to audience level at key moments with great effect. She has wisely focused on keeping the actors close with intricate staging in the intense moments.

The story begins with Reggie (Judd Farris) and Carla (Yamina Khouane) as a man and what appears to be a sex worker that he has fallen in love with. When he proposes to her, she tentatively agrees, on the condition that they reenact every sexual contact he has ever had and every sexual contact she has had (in one year no less) so that they will truly have no secrets from each other. As his history comes up, so does his exlover and best friend, Toni (Amber Quick). Reggie and Carla do get married, but when Carla dies (from something we don't have any information about) Reggie is left as a single father. Yes, they had a daughter, Bernie (Sophia Quiroga) who, it turns out, is a bit of a wild child. She wakes up at a party, pantless, with Sean (Nash Ferguson). Their pants were taken by friend Cole (Blake Robbins) who also appears to have violated both of them while they were passed out... No wonder Daddy is worried.

There really isn't anything new here. This essentially is the story of a single father who is trying to find a way to connect with his out of control and rebellious daughter. It's also the story of a man who lost the great love of his life, trying to find a way to move on. Lynn's script has some marvelous monologues in it that are handled with aplomb by Farris and Quick. The character of Carla seems a little underwritten and sort of fades into the background against Farris and Quick. The character of Cole could easily be jettisoned altogether he is so unessential. This might help tighten up an ending which, on the night I saw it, seemed to run into the curtain call in a rather muddy fashion. The script holds a lot of promise, especially in those monologues, but could definitely do with some judicious tightening and trimming. I really liked the use of the old Patience and Prudence song "Tonight You Belong To Me" as a motif. I also found the nonlinear moments with the daughter in the first act to be very confusing, considering that she hadn't been born yet as far as Reggie and Carla seemed to be aware of.

Judd Farris is electrifying, especially in the confrontation scenes, where he fairly sizzles. Amber Quick is a marvel, with some rather lengthy monologues that she delivers so deftly that you hang on her every word. She paints the portrait of a woman who is both sexy and smart, and absolutely unapologetic. Her scene where she empties her purse and confronts Bernie is captivating. Quick and Farris have a palpable chemistry that first is seen in the cafe scene and then repeats itself throughout the evening. Sophia Quiroga, as Bernie, was great in her scenes with Farris and Quick, rising to the moment; however, in her scenes with Cole and Sean, she sometimes was too quiet and difficult to hear clearly.

YOUR MOTHER'S COPY OF THE KAMA SUTRA has some really great moments in it and with some tweaking could be a really powerful script. The performances of Judd Farris and Amber Quick are dazzling theatrical quicksilver and well worth your time and money.


YOUR MOTHER'S COPY OF THE KAMA SUTRA by Kirk Lynn
Running Time: Approximately Two Hours, plus intermission


YOUR MOTHER'S COPY OF THE KAMA SUTRA produced by Present Company Theatre at the Museum of Human Achievement (3600 Lyons Road, Austin, TX, 78702).

Fridays-Mondays, September 21 - October 15, 2018 at 8 PM
Suggested donation of $25; RSVPs required, donations appreciated. AS ALWAYS... Promoting the philosophy of Accessible Art, admission is free, RSVPs required.

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