There was a theatre full of women of all ages (and a handful if men) at the Hawth Crawley last night for Sex in Suburbia, a play co-written and devised by TV personality Claire Sweeney and comedian Mandy Muden.
Penny Crowe (Lindzi Germain) is the host of a late-night radio phone-in and as Britain’s leading Agony Aunt. Claire Sweeney as herself joins Penny on her show as a ‘relationship expert’, together they answer questions about men, dating and sex. It is not for the fainthearted or easily offended.
The girls together with Carl Patrick also take on other roles as they act out some of the scenarios. Various relationship disasters are portrayed with the basic message being ‘Just be yourself and do whatever makes you happy’.
As part of a huge tour taking in dozens of venues for one-night only, Sex in Suburbia was an interesting concept. It is a cross between a raunchy Ann Summers show, Blind Date and a frenzied speed dating session. The relationship problems that the show deals with are real enough but are beefed up to become more extreme and therefore more amusing. This worked with various degrees of success.
An interesting part of the show comes in the second act as Sweeney invites audience members up onto the stage and asks them about their ‘dating disaster’ stories. Last night’s stories were quite tame, but heaven knows what she has to deal with some nights.
Directed by Ken Alexander and with clever set design by Mark Walters where boxes littering the stage build up become doors, chairs and house all manner of props and costumes. Sex in Suburbia certainly appealed to a vast number of people in the audience squealed hysterically and jumped to their feet each time the music started.
Others members of the audience were non-plussed which is fair enough. But I do wonder what the couple who left during the interval were expecting? Surely the title ‘Sex in Suburbia’ should have given them a clue? Maybe they weren’t expecting Claire Sweeney to be quite so frank about *ahem – you know what* and they’ll enjoy her next project more as she plays Velma Von Tussle in the next nationwide tour of Hairspray.
Sex in Suburbia is best taken with a big pinch of salt, a group of girlfriends and a big glass of wine. It is still on tour throughout May – see venues and book tickets here.