Sex in Shorts sees six snapshots of some very disparate characters with very different lives, all linked by one thing: sex. Three writers, four actors and two dancers take us from Australian weed to Argentine tango, from cunnilingus to controversial current affairs. Though its name suggests something more lewd than what is actually offered, Sex in Shorts deals with some thorny issues regarding love, relationships and sex.
Norman Miller’s There’s Only One Ched Evans offers up perhaps the most for discussion. As its title suggests, the monologue deals with the controversial 2011 rape case from the eyes of a pro-footballer. Arguably the most difficult character of all the plays, actor Daniel Lovett plays a cocky, entitled young man who earns more in a week than the average person does in a year. Decrying the concept of consent and asking members of the audience to “hold his [foot]balls” while he laments Evans’s guilty verdict, it isn’t until the very end of the piece that writer Miller really begins to make his point. Though there are some clumsy analogies, it is a bold choice to comment on football’s insidious rape culture through a character that embodies its very antithesis, and makes for a rather brain-twisting watch.
Garry Freer is a consummate comedian in Lorraine Mullaney’s A Lady with a House, in which a man who finds himself homeless after a break-up discovers a hidden talent that ensures he always has a bed for the night: his “silver tongue”. Mullaney weaves a nuanced tale about an emasculated man (they called him “Chipolata” at school) whose love for original fixtures almost rivals his passion for cunnilingus. Freer performs the piece exquisitely, and continues to impress later as the naïve, lonely frequenter of atastefortheexotic.com in Sweet Shop alongside Jenny Delisle, who plays a woman searching for her Mr Right in fetish clubs with commendable comic skill.
There are odd occasions when both the writing and acting feel awkward, and with so many subjects dealt with in such a short space of time, it feels as though some of the issues are neglected or glossed over. However, there are some incredibly touching, real and thought-provoking moments in each of the plays. Sex in Shorts is, all in all, an enjoyable watch.
Sex in Shorts is playing at the Rialto Theatre until 22 May as part of Brighton Fringe. For more information and tickets, see the Brighton Fringe website.