Review: Human Furniture (Red One Theatre Collective/Triangle Pi Productions)

Human Furniture explores an average couple’s hidden kink proclivities at Toronto’s Storefront Theatre

Human Furniture (Red One Collective/Triangle Pi Productions) examines the secret life that a seemingly “regular” suburban couple lives behind closed doors. It’s a life of kinky sexual preferences and activities. Throw a few uninvited guests into the mix and you have yourself a farce of epic proportions. Human Furniture is currently playing at the Storefront Theatre.

Written and directed by Claire Burns, Human Furniture takes a close look at the delicate balancing act of managing a conventional life, one with a nine to five job and a home in the suburbs with a sexually adventurous one full of BDSM. The play centres around a sex party that is to occur that evening and, as is the case with any classic farce, things don’t go according to plan.

With earnest performances from the cast and a script that doesn’t shy away from its sexually charged content, Human Furniture has its moments. But ultimately, I felt the play was uneven in both its tone and pacing. It has a somewhat ungrounded quality to it, with characters breaking the fourth wall as well as some over the top reactions. And because of this it prevented me from ever fully investing in it or really caring about any of the characters. I felt like I was being told “none of this is real”.

As far as the pacing goes, the play doesn’t kick into high gear until the uninvited guests arrive, putting that evening’s sex party into jeopardy with some hilarious results. Thomas Gough and Samantha Madely give great performances as the aforementioned uninvited couple who are completely oblivious to the situation, thereby creating the perfect comic foil. Also of note are Karen Knox and Lauren Horejda, in the roles of Pet and Slave. Their chemistry together helps anchor the first half of the play.

Also worth noting is the production’s use of music. It helps to create atmosphere during the scenes and works as a quirky interlude in between the play’s time dashes. The selections help the play stay true to its camp vibe. It’s an offbeat choice which definitely pays off.

Human Furniture embraces its subject without flinching. It celebrates the kinky behaviour that some of us may lead in our own lives. And while certainly not all audience members may relate to its subject, it still remains accessible because of its farcical nature. This play ended up being a mixed bag for me. It has truly funny moments and some solid performances but it’s execution needed a bit more realism for my taste.

Details:

  • Human Furniture (Red One Theatre Collective/Triangle Pi Productions) is playing until November 29th at the Storefront Theatre (955 Bloor Street West).
  • Shows run Tuesday-Saturday at 8pm with a Saturday matinee at 2pm.
  • Tickets are $25 and available at the venue box office or online at secureaseat.com