BWW Reviews: Skylight Theatre Company Achieves Great Climax with its World Premiere THE SEXUAL LIFE OF SAVAGES
The Sexual Life of Savages/by Ian MacAllister-McDonald/directed by Elina de Santos/Beverly Hills Playhouse/thru August 16, 2014
Those squeamish with graphic descriptions of sexual acts might be a tad uncomfortable experiencing The Sexual Life of Savages. They would certainly share lots in common with the two prudish characters of this explicit, yet heart-felt tale of a couple of high school teachers and their various partners. Very witty script, without one false note, by Ian MacAllister-McDonald; even strong-handed direction by Elina de Santos; and executed by a very abled cast of five make for a wonderful 90-minutes of very strong entertaining theatre.
Boyfriend/girlfriend Hal & Jean (Luke Cook and Melissa Paladino so convincing in their realism) bicker in disagreement over the number of sexual partners Jean has admitted to in her past. Hal can't seem to get past Jean's sexual history, as he's had much less sexual experience than her. Cook and Paladino have a number of wonderful scenes fighting, making up, dissing each other, accepting each other. MacAllister-McDonald's dialogue's so identifiable, one can nod their head in agreement, or in expectation of the next line of argument to come. As everyday and humdrum the quarreling can get, Cook and Paladino keep it all real and interesting.
Then, there's Hal's fellow teacher and friend Clark (well-endowed, er, well-played by Burt Grinstead). Grinstead effortlessly plays Clark as a speaks-his-mind, sexually knowledgeable married man. Clark and his wife Emily regularly log onto website Lifestyle Lounge to hook up for sexual ménage-a-trois. The irony in this play--Clark and Emily seem have the happiest, healthiest relationship of all the characters.
As Jean's close friend, Naomi; T. Lynn Mikeska makes her mark as Jean's shoulder-to-cry-on, and even more vividly as the latest 'trois' in Clark and Emily's ménage.
The delightful, very talkative Alice, (well-limned by Melanie Lyons) has similar sexual inhibitions as fellow teacher Hal. Her charming British accent and like morals initially bowl Hal over in his rebound from Jean.Kudos to set designer Hazel Kuang for her versatile multi-locationed set piece (Hal & Jean's bedroom, school breakroom, Clark's bedroom, Alice's living room, Jean's hospital lounge).
The Skylight Theatre Company can claim MacAllister-McDonald as another success in their playwright-developing INKubator program.