By Dorianne Emmerton
Theatre Brouhaha has an admirable mandate: to “combine the primacy of story with the rapid pace of the Information Age to create relevant theatre for the next generation of theatre audiences.”
I love work that is set in the contemporary world and where the content fully engages with the technology at our disposal, particularly the internet. The internet changed the world, it changed business and romance and socializing and marketing. There’s a wealth of issues to be explored so why are so many plays set in the past, or in a present that contrives to ignore the massive effect the internet has on our lives?
LoveSexMoney was inspired by the true story of a woman in the US who sold her virginity in an online auction run through the website of the Moonlite Bunny Ranch, one of the legal brothels in Nevada. My internet searching on the topic reveals that this sale was probably never consummated, but LoveSexMoney is “inspired by” not “based on.” It’s also inspired by the wide array of strange sex toys available in the online market.
Olivia (Victoria Kucher) is the 22 year old university student who has sold her virginity to Simon (Scott Clarkson), a lawyer, and they are in a hotel room working up to do the deed. This is not Nevada, however, this is set in Toronto. And given the recent historic ruling that set the stage for Canada to get rid of its ludicrous anti-prostitution laws, this scenario is fairly plausible.
Plausibility isn’t really what Kat Sandler’s script is going for though, as we see in the second part of the show. She’s going for laughs, and she doesn’t miss a chance for a dirty joke. Given the subject material, there are a lot of those chances. You may not want to bring your children or your grandmother to this show with you, but anyone with a healthy approach to humour and sex should get a fair number of laughs out of the night.
Olivia and Simon’s date is disturbed by Olivia’s ex-boyfriend Jim (Daniel Pagett), who is distraught that the love of his life is selling the sex she never gave to him. There’s a fair amount of yelling, a few more laughs, then the scene ends and the action flashes forward to the future where Jim has rented the same hotel room, on purpose, for a secret, embarrassing sexual purpose. Unfortunately his assistant has told two of his coworkers where he is and one of them is a woman he’s been dating.
Hilarity, of course, ensues. Brooke Morgan and Len Batta, who play Jim’s coworkers, have both got excellent comedic energy and timing. Olivia also returns, in a way that is very difficult for an actor. Luckily, this is a comedy so the moments where Victoria Kucher wasn’t quite pulling it off were just that much funnier.
And this is where the play really should have ended. Instead there’s a third scene that feels like it was tacked on to get the show up to a full-length running time.
The final third doesn’t ruin the experience of the show. It’s still worth seeing, and I’m very excited about what shows Theatre Brouhaha will bring us in the future.
Photo of Scott Clarkson, Victoria Kucher, Daniel Pagett by Max Martin.