2009 Edmonton Fringe Reviews: Day 5

There is no nudity. I know, I know, you were expecting nudity. They didn't put the nudity emblem on the program, so that sort of got your suspicions up. But when you pay to see Never Trust a Naked Marriage Counsellor I'm sure a little nipple isn't too much to ask. It turns out that, yes indeed, you shouldn't solicit elicit therapy from your wife, especially when its sex therapy. Especially when the sex therapy is with another woman. Another day, another fringe play testing the limits of coincidence. Family counsellor Norah thinks its just another day at the office, another day trying to get over her husband walking out on her the previous week. When the immortal Dr. Sigfried falls ill, she takes the clients that he was supposed to see. Only when watching from the observation room does she discover.... duhn duhn duhn... that the man wanting sex therapy is her own husband. At the same time, wimpy Sidney discovers that... duhn duhn duhn... Nick's new girl-toy is his own ex-wife. There's also this French shoe salesman character who's trying to get into Norah's pants. Anyways, Norah decides to get involved, and after starting video recording she barges in and does her best to break the happy couple up, while maintaining an allure of professionalism. This is where the naked bit comes in: Norah convinces them all to strip for a non-existant California Hot Tub Therapy. [he means that the hot tub is non-existant, not that the therapy itself doesn't exist. Though it doesn't. -ed] As we admire Elizabeth Johannson and (particularly) Leah Anderson's Cynthia's supple bodies (Anderson is decked out in a black bra and panties), the weird Frenchman Pierre, passing himself off as a therapy guru, admires in front of a perplexed Sidney. I do have to say that while the females acting chops aren't quite up for the roles intended for them, Kris Loranger steals the show as Sidney. He almost never breaks the character's mannerisms assigned to him, and until he himself strips down (er, don't ask) I assumed Loranger was wearing a fat suit for the role. Calvin Malaka's Pierre is pretty well acted though his writing was often inconsistent between insightful and half-wited, and Ian Horobin does a decent job as Nick, though the non-verbal acting leaves a little to be desired. I now recognized Johannson from the grounds earlier in the festival. I checked her out, unaware I'd have a better opportunity later. I'll keep an eye for her in the beer gardens for sure. Eventually the play goes to the next level as it becomes apparent that suddenly Norah has lost all of her physiatric ethics and desires only to film and youtube her husbands therapy. Er, so yeah, his clients see him topless and pushed around by his therapist ex-wife while she gets her license revoked for violating patient confidentiality, probably charged for good measure, and then sued by her lawyer ex-husband who will almost certainly get the lion's share of what she owns. But hey, who said people with psych degrees had a whole lot of sense? The underwear scene was pretty nice, and watching Pierre's footrub get Cynthia almost as wet at the magician-loving girl I watched melt as she got a phone number was pretty sexy. Watching Norah's professional demeanour conflict with her revenge desire made for some neat back and forth, and Pierre's surprising insight between selling a woman shoes and selling yourself as a couples therapist were also highlights. It was an entertaining romp, and you didn't notice time fly all that much. Most of the reviews I overheard in line were in fact extremely negative, which was surprising. Had none of these people watched nggrfg? All in all, there's a bit of couples insight, a little drama, some sexual intrigue, and a fairly entertaining story. But no nipples. Which just isn't right.