After Earth is almost destroyed due to climate change, six twenty-somethings are stuck together on a spaceship en route to populate the planet Mars. 2018: A Sex Odyssey, presented by Theresa Ramirez Productions, is a sketch comedy playing at the Toronto Fringe Festival.
As much as I love to laugh, comedy shows, more often than not, make me anxious. It’s rare that I encounter one that consistently hits the mark for me. Comedy is very personal. It can be divisive, alienating or unifying. It’s wise to take any review with a heavy dose of salt.
I think I expected something far more bawdy and farcical from this show. The set-up suggests a certain raunchiness and goofy sci-fi related pratfalls, but there’s very little actual sex or circumstantial humour here. There’s a porthole window looking out onto the earth which reminds us we’re on a spaceship, but nothing that happens really relates to their specific situation. They might as well be stuck together at a cottage.
After a brief intro where the characters introduce themselves and establish their vibe, we launch right into their lives on this spaceship. All they do, really, is talk about sex. And not so much about the sex itself, but about the idea of sex. Who is having sex with whom? When? Where?
Samara Stern, Brian Millward, Wilfred Lee, Demetria Sherman, Kennedy Thompson and Alex Clay are an energetic ensemble. There are some charming moments where their charisma wins the day, but most of their dynamic is wasted on dull and petty squabbling. The script and performances do not offer any real build-up or release of tension.
That said, some moments of physical comedy did tickle me. There’s a running gag with freezies that is random and absurd enough to appeal to my particular sense of humour. And there’s a deliberately awkward and prolonged threesome that amused me greatly.
It’s established that nobody has any real hang-ups about who they will have sex with. Men with women, women with women, men with men—it’s all equal here. And yet, there is something prudish in the content of their bickering. It seems as if sex really stresses them all out even though they have no hesitation about engaging in it.
Overall, 2018: A Sex Odyssey didn’t quite do it for me. The cast is capable enough, but the storyline and dialogue—the actual content of the show—doesn’t capitalize on the potential of it’s premise. Humour is so very subjective though, so if you’re intrigued, check it out!
- 2018: A Sex Odyssey plays at the St. Vladimir Institute. (620 Spadina Ave.)
- Tickets are $13, including a $2 service charge. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes and discounts for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Festival Box Office at Scadding Court (707 Dundas St. W.), and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
- Content Warnings: Mature language; Sexual content; Unsuitable for minors.
- This venue is wheelchair-accessible through a secondary route. After the building’s business hours, a staff member will need to escort you through this route, so plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early for evening shows.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- Wednesday July 4th, 8:45 pm
- Saturday July 7th, 12:00 pm
- Monday July 9th, 10:45 pm
- Wednesday July 11th, 5:45 pm
- Thursday July 12th, 3:30 pm
- Friday July 13th, 7:30 pm
- Sunday July 15th, 2:45 pm
Photo of Kennedy Thompson, Alex Clay, Samara Stern, Demetria Sherman, Youness Robert-Tahiri and Wilfred Lee by Theresa Ramirez