BWW Review: SEX WITH STRANGERS Steams up the Human Race Theatre Company

BWW Review: SEX WITH STRANGERS Steams up the Human Race Theatre CompanyActing is hard. The ability to lay yourself bare night after night, emotionally (and sometimes physically) is something that does not come easily to most people. Add into that the ability to react honestly to your acting partners, even though you may know their lines better than they do. Then, there is the difficult matter of comic timing. When all of these things click, it makes for an amazing night of theatre and you feel lucky to be part of it. You have the opportunity to experience this now, if you go to see SEX WITH STRANGERS at the Human Race Theatre Company.

When we first meet Olivia and Ethan, although they share some commonalities, they could not seem to be more different. After they hook up, for what seems to be just sex with a stranger, they begin to realize that they are more alike than they originally thought and that their connection runs much deeper. Jennifer Johansen as Olivia and Ben Palacios as Ethan share a palpable chemistry that not only brings their intimate encounters honesty (and heat) but enlivens the funny moments and makes the harder relationship moments all the more heartbreaking to watch. Jennifer and Ben share a lovely ease together on stage, likely from working together before in HRTC's VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE in 2015, that was just a pleasure to watch from beginning to end.

Director Greg Hellems did an excellent job enhancing this ease and chemistry. Although the producers warn audiences of partial nudity and adult themes, he is very respectful of the actors and the audience so none of this felt forced or overly gratuitous. Eric Moore's set was the perfect backdrop for the action. I enjoyed watching at intermission as the crew easily switched it from act one to act two. I appreciate all of these details that go into a production, including costumes by Stormie Mac, lighting by John Rensel and sound by Jay Brunner, that all work to skillfully enhance the mood and look of the entire production.

Don't miss your opportunity to see SEX WITH STRANGERS. The show runs until February 18 and tickets are available at www.ticketcenterstage.com or by by calling 937-228-3630. Tickets are $40 adults, $37 seniors and $20 students. Group discounts are available for parties of 10 or more. A limited number of $12 and $25 side are seats are available in advance of all performances. Please note that in addition to the partial nudity and adult themes, there is also strong language.

Prior to the Friday February 9 performance, it is "Ladies Night", beginning at 6:30 PM. Additional information about this event can be found on the HRTC website, www.humanracetheatre.org.

All performances are at the Metropolitan Art Center's Loft Theatre at 126 N. Main Street in downtown Dayton next to the Victoria Theatre. Thursday, Friday and Saturday performances are at 8 PM, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday evening performances are at 7 PM and Sunday matinees begin at 2 PM.

Photo credit: Scott J. Kimmins

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