Review: Adult Entertainment!

By

Adult Entertainment! by is a complex and mature examination of sex, relationships, and the self. As six strangers get together in a cinema, beyond the laws of time and space, to watch the same dirty movie together, their pasts, stories, and vulnerabilities are unravelled. Written with care, and yet unashamedly brave, Galimberti’s play is extraordinarily human as she presents her characters’ most raw state on stage, delving into one of the biggest unspoken issues in our society.

Galimberti’s writing is witty and weighted. Each of her characters is so distinct on stage, and not just because they have all come from a different time period. It is obvious how much time she has spent with these characters as they grow and figure things out about themselves, life, and about the world throughout the play. The theme of Adult Entertainment! can of course be controversial, but I must applaud Galimberti’s choice of approaching it through personal human stories. She effectively gives strong, powerful voices to the experiences, making it easy for the audience to empathize. Under her direction, the Assembly Rooms Theatre is transformed into a haunting chamber where time and space do not exist, and where pleasure and repressed sadness meet.

It is obvious how much time she has spent with these characters as they grow and figure things out about themselves, life, and about the world throughout the play

The actors were perfectly comfortable in their characters. I was particularly impressed with Zara Stokes Neustadt’s portrayal of Shirley – despite having little to no lines in the first 60 minutes of the play, the flat, hard expression on her face as well as her stiff movements did all the work needed in building her character. She is brimming with talent. Side by side with ’s quiet yet aggressive portrayal of Grant, the chemistry between the two amplified their cracked relationships, intensifying the impact that the duo has on the audience. was exceptional as Perv as he brings all six characters together, with his charming and witty, and yet sometimes seemingly out-of-place comments. At times, the play loses its pace a little because it is so monologue-heavy, and every time Porter would snap the audience’s attention back as he changes the tone of the scene.

The rest of the actors were no less impressive. ’s portrayal of the porn star Chuck is vulnerable and moving, and from an audience seat, it was a special thing to be able to see through the tough face that a character is showing. Barber’s acting is brave and powerful, and I applaud his commitment to the character. His tension matched everyone in the room, including Vinnie ­– played by Flo Booth, and Mick, played by Sean Farrell. The chemistry between the actors is incredible, and it is wonderful to see how Vinnie and Mick – both considerably younger characters, grow into themselves through their relationship through space and time with Barber.

On the technical side, I must applaud the production team for their work in elevating this play to a completely new level

On the technical side, I must applaud the production team for their work in elevating this play to a completely new level. Being a text-heavy play, I thought the tech was used in a simple yet very impactful way. The lighting, designed by Production Manager Theo Nellis, assisted by Skye Carroll, subtly but powerfully imitates a cinema. A particular scene that stood out for me was in Shirley’s monologue, as she is lit with a simple spotlight and showered with haze. It was a shift from the previous scenes and it makes her experience seem extremely haunting, it was almost as if I was able to see the weight of it on her shoulders. The sound effects are also expertly designed with voices overlapping with haunting music which effectively adds to the tension.

Overall, Adult Entertainment! by is an intricately executed commentary on sexuality, relationships, and self-discovery. It is honest, raw, and unashamed, all in the best way possible.

Image credit: Fourth Wall Theatre Company

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