Lauren & Amanda Do It, presented by Toasted Theatre Company at the Next Stage Theatre Festival, bills itself as a frank discussion about sex in a province where sex ed is currently in crisis. Pared down from its hour-long iteration into a 30-minute performance in the Factory Theatre Antechamber, it’s styled as an ever-changing talk show, with a rotating roster of guests.
Hosts Lauren Cauchy and Amanda Logan, aided by sprightly, bright original music and participation from Alli Harris, determine each night’s topic by spinning the “Wheel of Fucking.” The wheel has topics ranging from “Fetishes and Fantasies” to “Masturbation,” the latter being our fortune for opening night. Even if the wheel spin is the same two nights in a row, we’re assured that there will be different material for returning customers. (Three nights in a row, perhaps not.)
The three performers readily admit to being three cis, white women, and not having a universal sexual experience. However, the show doesn’t purport to be about universal pronouncements, but about encouraging greater comfort with frank sexual discussion. To vary the voices being heard, each night features a different guest. As well, audience members are encouraged to safely submit their questions by writing them on a beach ball – a ball that’s literally in our court.
Tonight’s interviewee, a drag queen named Selena Vyle, spoke candidly about their porn and masturbation habits, the need for a good story and motivation in sexual material, and the potential hazards of drag queen “chasers” who can turn into online or in-person stalkers.
There are so many elements of the show – Music! Sketch comedy! Interview questions! – that it basically functions at breakneck speed. As we don’t quite get enough of any one thing, I felt that perhaps it could benefit from scaling down on the variety of entertainments, and focusing on its greatest strengths.
In our night’s case, for example, the sketch was an extended, newscast-style diatribe against the Ford government rollback of the sex-ed curriculum. The women know they’re preaching to the choir. The jokes mostly land, and the delivery is good, but with the time crunch it just doesn’t play as well as the personal stories and talk show elements. These are much fresher and more satisfying, driving home the main conceit of the performance itself – that a lack of communication and talking about sex is often the biggest sexual problem there is.
While it deals with potentially serious subjects, the show is light and airy, and just a lot of fun, like having a drink with your closest confidantes. I enjoyed myself, but it was over far too soon; let’s just say I wanted to come again.
- Next Stage Theatre Festival performances are being held at Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst St.)
- Tickets for Mainstage/Studio/Site-specific shows are $15 and Antechamber performances are $12
- Showtimes and ticket information are available at fringetoronto.com/next-stage-festival/
Photo of Lauren Cauchy and Amanda Logan provided by the company