My First… is a sketch show of crippling awkwardness. In a whirlwind of reminiscence and pop culture references, a cast of five young performers deliver a parade of ‘first times’: uncomfortable teenage cinema dates, Mission Impossible masturbation sessions, and (metaphorical) tennis court sex. It’s as absurd and all over the place as it sounds.
The show bursts with cringey humour. Millennials and gen-zedders alike will wince over the depictions of social media etiquette: waiting at least six minutes to reply to your crush, sending your friend live updates as the Snapchat drama unfolds, the decoding of a single emoji… I, for one, find it all painfully real.
The company match each other in ferocious energy, but this often comes across as overplayed. Sure, the point is to showcase the absurdity of obsessing over the perfect ‘first time’ experience (sexual or otherwise), but when one character shouts “Am I talking too much?!”, I’m certain I’m not the only person who replies with a fervent “Yes, please stop screaming!”. Many scenes whizz by at an alarming pace, with very few pauses for breath. Too much focus is placed on packing in the laughs, with very little consideration of the potential overflow.
There are attempts at poignancy: a friendship group conversation in the latter half of the show touches on phimosis and queefing during sex, amongst other taboos. These topics are certainly important, but the scene itself is long-winded and a bit too high school sex education-esque for my liking. It is also all very heterosexual, which is fine to an extent, but anyone who identifies otherwise will probably feel a bit bored and left out.
Quite a few other things don’t make much sense or aren’t explored enough. One moment, a projection of the Sun Baby from the Teletubbies appears, the next, two male performers are dressed in pink catsuits, supposedly embodying the vagina that their fellow female performer is about to explore. Also, I’m not sure how they came to the decision to use tennis as an analogy for sex, but I think it’s probably best if that question is left unanswered.
Despite all of this, the whole performance is incredibly joyful. The cast, although exhaustingly lively, engage with the audience well and bookend the show with a fun, yet painfully catchy song. There’s nothing revolutionary about the whole thing, but it’ll give you the giggles at least.
My First… is available to watch online throughout the Edinburgh Fringe. For more information see the Edinburgh Fringe website.