Theatre review: Let’s talk about sex

Posted: May 27, 2010 in Theatre & Event Reviews and Interviews

LETS TALK ABOUT SEX.  Directed by Rob van Vuuren. With Jo Wharmby. At Beefcakes until 29 May ASTRID STARK reviews

First published in Cape Times, 25 May

Today’s lesson is not for children.

Buckle up for a wild no holds barred lesson about sex and all things sexy in comedienne Joanne Wharmby’s one-woman show.  Armed with only a flipchart, filled with dirty pictures, and an enigmatic personality, Wharmby takes us on a saucy sex-fuelled rollercoaster ride.  It is not always a pretty story but it sure is funny.  The camp and slightly Vaudevillian atmosphere of Beefcakes Burger Bar is an ideal venue for a show which will have you squirming in your seat.

When Joanne Wharmby was in her twenties, she was run over by a double-decker bus.  She decided to turn this devastating accident around.  “Seeing as they pay you for getting run over in England,” Wharmby says. “I then got to travel and live all over the world throughout my 20’s generally having a wonderful time, and shagging a United Nations worth of men whilst I was at it.”  At this point you might want to dismiss her as a bimbo, but there is a little more to her than that.

Ten years after the accident she was living in Sydney, still in pain and walking badly, when she met a Hellerwork practitioner who helped turn her life around.  Hellerwork assists with the re-alignment of the body’s posture and teaches people to move more gracefully.  Wharmby has since been helping other woman restore their body confidence and sensuality.

 “My own interests in Tantra, the fact that I’ve shagged 51 men along with my knowledge of body mechanics, oh and the complete lack of an embarrassment gene, meant that friends and clients have always come to me to talk about sex.” says Wharmby.   She started writing a book about her experiences but soon realized that she wanted to speak to people directly and mostly she wanted to make people laugh.

As this is a family paper I will not go into the technical bits of Joanne’s show suffice it for me to say that she takes no prisoners and leaves no single taboo unexposed.  And yes she is relating her own personal sexual experiences which ads a kind of brutal, eyes-popping, reality to the performance.   Every aspect of sex and its accompanying and sometimes embarrassing bodily functions are dissected, turned inside out, and often ridiculed.  Her show makes you cringe, in-between gulps of laughter, and flushes of embarrassment.  It’s not exactly a sexual revolution, but she does remind us how funny sex can be, and how important and cathartic a good sense of humour between the sheets can be.   Wharmby also gently explores the non-sexual aspects of what makes a relationship tick.  Add to this the fact that she chooses to wear a short skirt which shows of her mangled legs in the spotlight, and you have a rather burlesque performance.

Wharmby is neither afraid nor embarrassed to show and tell all.  Her main point being that everybody has sex, yet bizarrely there is such a general reluctance to talk about it. The show is probably not for the faint-hearted or the squeamish. Funny-man Rob van Vuuren’s direction is fast-paced and edgy and it ensures that the laughter is neatly interspersed with moments of seriousness.   Let’s talk about sex has just been accepted for Edinburgh Fringe where Jo will perform from August 5-29.

* Tickets are R80.00.   Shows run from 20h30 and only on Fridays and Saturdays.  To book, call 021 425 9010


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