Sex sells. Rachel Lincoln knows this, which is why she has created this show about it. It begins in darkness, Lincoln shining a headtorch onto an inflated condom and zooming it around the room like a rocket. Then she blows the condom up more and sticks her fist into it until it bursts. I’ve never read Freud but I have a feeling there is some latent imagery here.
Lights up. Dressed in a mortarboard-cum-hairband and constantly flicking her arms out of the many folds of a blue silk graduation gown, she adopts the role of a substitute teacher. She remains silent, except for squeaks, grunts and whimpers, as she folds back a sheet on a flipboard. Writing welcomes Class 8B, the audience, to the lesson on… sex education. Lincoln is aghast.
She mimes and clowns her way through the lesson, playing the part of the (silent) embarrassed teacher. Everything is explained through puerile innuendo – her board marker entering its lid serves as an explanation for the basic mechanics of sex. Lincoln drags us through all the clichés – teen fiddling with a bra strap, men being inadequate in bed. Some of the set pieces are more enjoyable than others, as when she is explaining contraception. The audience members are given sheets of paper, instructed to make aeroplanes and then throw them at Lincoln who has covered herself with a giant piece of cling film.
Lincoln is mostly very good at expressing herself through broad gestures and little noises, channelling Mr Bean-like buffoonery. But there is little of substance to dig into apart from maybe 30 seconds about teenagers emulating what they see in porn. The silence seems to be a comment on society’s inability to talk frankly about sex, but the message is lost in immaturity. Besides, in the last few minutes, Lincoln breaks silence to talk and perform a song. Why stop miming? She is a good performer but Lincoln is working with stale material. But what does that matter, it’s about sex so the audience will be there no matter what.
Lie Back And Think Of England is at C nova (Venue 145) until 25 August. For more information and tickets visit: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/lie-back-and-think-of-england