2012-08-25

2012 Edmonton Fringe Festival Double Review: Sexed & Bad Girls & The Mystery of the Missing Nudity

I'm doing something a little different: combining two shows into a single page. I've always done this in the past, and tried to shy away from it this year.

But these two shows are intrinsically linked together by a common thread. Both come with warnings of female nudity. Both feature an all-female cast. Both don't show us so much as a goddamn nipple. On Twitter yesterday I was asked about a justifiable rape, and this has to come pretty damned close.

Our first show to discuss is Sexed: where three girls (who have names, but for obvious reasons will be described as hot brown, decent white, and fat white) pretend to give sex education relevant to the current generation of Lady Gaga-inspired women. Inexplicably, the actresses/writers (they are one and the same, so no blame can be passed off) are operating under some weird fiction that women aren't being encouraged enough to be comfortable with their bodies. Obviously they have never been at the Gas Pump on a Friday evening. Anyways, the girls try to explain how traditional sex education isn't cutting the mustard: the only gag here that works is when a couple puts a condom on a banana (as taught in class) and then start having wild unprotected sex in the theory the banana is somehow protecting them. It's about this point they break into three distinct characters to show each's sexual awakening. It's apparently the "three primary achetypes" of female sexuality, which inexplicably are "prude turned into cautious yet enthusiastic sexual creature" (Decent White), "naughty girl who spent so much time pleasing men she never paid attention to her own needs" (Hot Brown), and "girl who had a bad sexual experience and turns dyke" (Fat White). Well, all right then.

The play itself isn't so much bad, as just doesn't really go anywhere: just like the infamous Sex in the City, it doesn't do what it sets out to do and ends up just cementing everybody's pre-existing idea of what women as sexual creatures are like. Oh, and speaking of justifiable rape, it brings up the classic "soft date-rape" case: where she and him fool around, she doesn't explicitly say "yes" at every single millisecond of the sexual encounter, and then afterwords feels bad and decides that he committed a criminal act. If this is the picture of rape that they really want to push forward, I recommend that the maximum sentence for rape henceforth be a $250 fine. Likewise their (obvious) anti-life abortion message: "it's your choice, not his." This blog has torn that argument apart enough times its hardly necessary for me to do this again. Real edgy fringe theatre you folks are running!

Total nudity: Hot brown girl at one point pretends to masturbate and you briefly get a glimpse of her panties. I think I saw more underwear than that at the beer gardens...which were almost deserted.

Our second play, Bad Girls, isn't actually a play as much as four unconnected skits. It opens up with the sexiest scene you can imagine: an old housewife (complete with apron) complaining about a babysitter using vulgar language for apparently no reason complete in a Jersey accent. After a bit of very stylized dialogue, the ultimate result is a massive reset button putting both characters back into the situation in which they began, a process that was at least 3-4 minutes too long.


The second skit tells the tale of a swashbuckling pirate girl (who apparently sailes from the pirate haven of...Ireland) and her encounter with the wife of a man she...well, had some sort of situation with: by the end you've given up trying to remember which tales are true. The skit starts out entertaining enough, with the hottest member of either cast in revealing wench clothes, drinking rum (or...Irish Whiskey?) and bragging about her swordfighting skills. "Not one in 10,000 men can best my steel, and I don't see 10,000 men here". Since this is another all-girl cast, let's just all pretend we don't see the plot twist that's a-comin'. Anyways the wife (or fiancee? Seriously, I stopped trying to keep track) bests this girl amazingly easily, and then..surrenders...because of something the hottie said about her husband? And then after another bizarre change of story from hot girl, followed by another change of story from hot girl, then hot girl also surrenders? And then join forces, only they don't, only then they do because the fat wife is really a master of the Dyke Jedi arts. Hot girl is actually surprisingly good here, even if her highly stylized dialogue (are you noticing a trend?) delivered in a thick "drunk person accent" started to wear on the ears after a while. The worst is the girl who played the wife/fiancee/sapphist, whose acting was so bad and so wooden and so uninspiring that I felt like asking her if she was from Slave Lake. Again, this skit went on a good 6-7 minutes longer than it really needed to, the same lines and concepts kept getting jarred about back and forth by the end.

Our next skit was called "FUCKING SATAN" and involved the second hottest member of this cast (third overall) talking about her sexual relationship with Beelzebub. She inexplicably seems to be dominating the Dark Lord (the skit isn't called, please note, "GETTING FUCKED BY SATAN") and using and abusing his body to the extent that he's cuckolded into cleaning up the stage for the remainder of the play. This one didn't last long past its best-sell date, and did feature a decent enough looking striptease...culminating in the girl stripping down to a negligee.

In between were two burlesque-esque [that's a lot of que's there! -ed] dances. One featured old housewife chick, and the other girl from the first sketch as well, who stripped down into only her panties and no bra...only to have giant devil-faces covering her nipples and inexplicably the crotch of her panties too.

Our final skit involved two hookers offering a 2-for-1 deal in meter rhyme, and their dismissal of our housewife actress from the first skit dressed up like a man. Look we know you don't have any actual dick on your casting call folks, its okay if you dress her up as a man to have her be an ACTUAL man...there was literally no necessity in making this girl look so manish only to have her turn out to be a carpet muncher. Again the stylish dialogue (though it makes sense with the rhyming concept at least) as the girls brag about their abilities in the sack being worth $100. Really, that's all? I know the U.S. economy is in shambles, but do visiting troupes actually live in a place where a hot prostitute is worth only fifty bucks? This skit at the very least (partly because of the rhyming) had a stable energy about it, with the pacing being much more even than the other skits. As the lesbo is chased off and the hookers resume their spiel, the play ends. So four skits: two of which went way too long, and one that ended with yet another "this play contains nudity" cocktease. Most of the stories (minus the second) never really progressed anywhere. Most of the stories (minus the fourth) lost their energy at some point. Finally, most of the stories (minus the third) were absent of even the hint of nudity.

Total nudity: Hot swashbuckler showed a lot of panty -- the same girl in the 2-for-1 skit had a pair of crotchless nylons ending in some sweet sweet love nest action that was pretty nice. The Satan-fucking girl got into negligee as discussed, and you saw a braless girl showing less boob than my bra-wearing date on Thursday night was showing. At the end, many of the girls bow with the same fried-egg emblem covering their chest as was shown in the movie poster. So yes, another show with no actual nudity. Monty Python cartoons showed more than these two plays.

Final word: Don't be fooled by your Fringe program: these two chick plays make you yearn for the day when we didn't let them own property.