Is This About Sex?

Totally sex-based drama plods along awkwardly but at moments drips with genuine affection

Review by Yasmin Sulaiman | 05 Aug 2007

Is This About sex? is, of course, all about sex. Marital sex, adulterous sex, competitive sex, even lesbian sex between a man and a woman. When IT-assistant Daniel walks into a ladies clothing store and asks to try on some women's clothes, he finds a new friend in Kathy - a friendly shop assistant who's more than dissatisfied with her long-term boyfriend's sexual performance. As Daniel and Kathy grow closer, they embark on a heady affair in which all parties concerned are forced to discover whether love and sex can ever exist without the other.

The success of Improbably Frequency at last year's Fringe has inevitably given rise to high expectations of this latest offering from Irish theatre group, Rough Magic. Sadly, few of these expectations hold up: the production relies too heavily on long, drawn out conversations between the characters, which plod along awkwardly to no avail. Moreover, Christian O'Reilly's script isn't sharp enough to inject any new life into the well-worn theme of 'love and relationships' and, resultantly, treads a lacklustre pace.

That said, Daniel's struggle to come to terms with his true gender is touching and his relationship with the two major women in the play - Kathy and his wife - both drip with genuine affection. But while there are moments of sincere humanity that do much to perk up the flailing momentum of Is This About sex?, the play's exploration of stale sexual relationships and how to revive them simply strikes few chords and too many bum notes.