Review: 1972: The Future of Sex

1972: The Future of Sex
The Wardrobe Ensemble
4*

Do you remember your first time?

That thrilling, fumbling, terrifying, mess?

All the contradictions of a first sexual experience are reflected in the opening of 1972: The Future of Sex. A line of awkward teenagers squirm as the enigmatic Tom England launches into an impassioned proclamation of the sexual revolution. ‘This. Is. It’.

The next hour is a breathless journey through 1970s pop culture and uncomfortably familiar sexual angst. But do not be fooled by the giant space hoppers, this show is not merely a lighthearted romp to sate our nostalgia; it has a powerful message not only delivered skillfully but with heart.

As we watch the stories of each character unfold dealing with the themes of homosexuality, feminism and gender against the backdrop of Bowie, Deep Throat and The Female Eunuch we feel hope for a future that never was. It’s all too familiar. The occasional flash-forward to the apathy of present day, only stands to illustrate this further.

Perhaps the most poignant of these stories is that of Anton (James Newton). Shut in his room dressed in his mother’s clothes and glitter on his face, his silence throughout is meaningful and in sharp relief to the cleverly choreographed chaos that consumes the rest of the characters’ journeys. His story quietly waits for its surprising and empowering conclusion.

At times the sheer volume of theatrical devices used can feel overwhelming and possibly unnecessary for such a talented cast but excruciating moments of stillness offer an honesty that is truly magical.

Praise must also go to the music of Tom Crosley-Thorne and the company’s seamless integration of a live sound score. On stage musicians can sometimes feel clunky in a theatrical production but it not only felt right in this context but essential.

1972: The Future of Sex is a beautiful example of true collaborative theatre. A supremely talented cast masterfully guides us through a comical and brave production. Wryly rattling our nostalgic bones whilst simultaneously shaking us with the passion of a forgotten revolution.

This production is on tour and has several upcoming dates.  For more info, visit the Wardrobe Ensemble’s website. 

© Janina Smith 2016

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