Sex, Drugs & the Holy Ghost (www.bourgee-bushwoman.com) – 2010 Toronto Fringe Review

By John Bourke

It’s difficult to put a categorize what kind of a show Sex, Drugs & the Holy Ghost really is, and it’s making it very difficult to write this review. Put simply, the show is a series of three vignettes where Diane Johnstone portrays three different women, each of whom is at a different point in their life, and have very different views on, well, everything.

Sex, Drugs & the Holy Ghost (Hereafter shortened to SDatHG) was performed and written by Diane Johnstone and directed by Winnie Wong.

SDatHG begins with Johnstone on stage watching TV, and talking back to the preacher man. This leads her to tell us about her introduction to sex, her various boyfriends, her stripping job, and various experiences with drugs. Mostly funny, sometimes sad, she elequently takes us through young life and her most recent boyfriend, a church going man.

Subsequently, she transforms herself into a middle-aged deacon’s wife, musing about her husband’s sexual desires, and an old lady who looks back at sex as something that used to happen.

This is not a show with any new or great insights into human nature, and it will probably not change any one’s mind about anything or anyone. It is, however, funny and refreshingly simple in its staging and scope. This is an honest show, played with passion.

I did feel that the transitions between the three women were unnecessarily long, and I think that Johnstone is a good enough actor to have communicated the differences between the women without needing to change into a different wig or don a house dress as she does when going into the old lady role. The fact that the last two characters talked about religion and sex but not drugs at all is probably unnecessarily pedantic of me to mention.

SDatHG was part of Fringe Toronto, and has now completed its run. I do, however, hope to see more of Johnstone in the future.