Written by Jeff Gould
Directed by Rick Shaw
Let me just start by saying that this show has already received many, many accolades over the years. It’s actually touted as “L.A.’s longest running comedy,” with successful runs Off-Broadway in New York, and many other cities including Austin, TX, Denver, CO as well as productions in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Greece and, soon, Israel and Brazil.
After performances all over the globe, this revival brings it back home to NoHo where it premiered back in 2002, and for the first time with an entirely black cast.
This award wining ‘lust vs trust’ play brings us into the world of three couples. These long standing friends, with their kids away at camp, meet up, as they regularly do, for drinks and dinner at one of their homes. But on this particular evening one of them has just walked in on their husband entertaining a hooker in their home…
Instead of the predictable blow up, drag out fight, the wife in question, Joan, has a shock induced brainwave and decides to continue the evenings festivities. After everyone has a few drinks Joan proposes a couples swap, presumably to get back at her errant husband. The other couples, oblivious to Joan’s motivation, and with alcohol steeling their resolve and dulling their senses agree to give it a try, some more enthusiastically than others.
So the scene is set, the couples retreat to various rooms and the deeds are done, undone and not done…
What we are left with is a very interesting and very authentic portrait of regret, revenge and restraint…all culminating in various juicy and powerful revelations, as well as some life changing re-evaluations…at least for some.
Yes, this is a titilating and hilarious play about sex. It’s very funny and very revealing, but ultimately their revelations are much, much more intimate the minute they all stop having sex with each other…
This is a play about trust and how when it’s gone it can be gone forever, but equally that the loss of trust might be much more about something other than what we always think it is about….if you know what I mean…
Relationships are hard, we all know that to be true, and after we have been with the same person for a while what once had seemed so charming now seems far less so and sometimes it can seem down right soul destroying. Nothing is simple, nothing is easy and nothing is ever like it was in the beginning. Accepting that can be more than some are able to do, and it’s at that point when bad decisions are made…this is a play about some very bad decisions.
It points no fingers, although many accusations are made, instead in their own feeble and warped way these characters manage to find their way through the mishaps and misadventures of the day and emerge somewhat in tact, although utterly changed.
In a word this play is ‘deep.’ It is a romp and and a bit farcical at times, but it strives to be about something. It strives to be about the pressures we all put upon ourselves and each other to be perfect, and when we are not, which we never ever are, how we torment each other with our failures instead of understanding them and expecting them even, and how that torment destroys us little bit by little bit. How much simpler would it be if we could embrace our flaws, and love each other the more for the recognition of them….if only eh?
And so to the performances…can I single anyone out? I could, probably, but suffice it to say that all these astounding actors were perfect. Perfectly cast, perfectly rehearsed and perfectly connected to each other. However great the material an actor has to work with, and this play is absolutely brilliantly written and full of the kind of one liners you only wish you had thought up yourself, it takes a truly sublime actor to bring those words to life.
The cast of ‘It’s Just Sex’ is truly sublime. Funny, real, ferociously real in fact, they take what could be a bunch of stereotypically successful thirty something people and fill them with nuance and empathy and truth. Honestly I couldn’t applaud loudly enough for them. This is pretty raw and raunchy stuff, and that can be difficult to perform, tricky to get right and daunting for an actor to attempt, but they were all so open and brave and trusting of each other that it was just a thrilling play to watch, something very, very special. This is helped in no small part by the expertise of Director Rick Shaw, who’s years of comedy directing experience give him rare insight and a deft hand.
And funny! I don’t think I have laughed out loud so much during a play for a very long time, I can completely understand why it’s been such a success world wide. My only question is this, where’s the movie?? It certainly would make a fantastic film…just a thought folks!
I highly recommend ‘It’s Just Sex’ at the Secret Rose Theatre. Run don’t walk to get your tickets, I hear they are selling out fast…
‘It’s Just Sex’ runs from April 15th through June 5th Friday & Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 7pm.
The Secret Rose, 11246 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood, 91601
This is a very adult show with adult themes, no nudity, but not for kids.
Phil - Caz Harleaux
Joan - Marie-Francoise Theodore
Kelly - Kimberly Green
Carl - David S. Haley
Lisa - Karimah Westbrook
Greg - Jeremy Walker
Amanda, The Hooker - Denise Milfort (Amanda Alexander)
Prod. Stage Manager - Sir Anthony Kinniebrew
Light Design - Skylar Johnson
Set Design - Josh Lacovelli, Sternworld Prods
Sound Design - Shep Stern, Sternworld Prods, Wlder Shaw
Casting - Jami Rudofsky