Broken Sex Doll
by Andy Thompson with original music by Anton Lipovetsky

Dates and Venue 13 – 24 March, 2013 8pm (24 March at 2pm) | Historic Theatre, The Cultch, 1895 Venables Street.

Director & Set Designer Andy Thompson Musical Director Anton Lipovetsky Lighting Design Itai Erdal Costume Design Drew Facey Sound Design Brian Linds Dramaturgy Simona Atias Choreography Vanessa Goodman & Jane Osborne Makeup Design/Prosthetics Elizabeth McLeod & Suzie Klimack Production Stage Manager David Warburton

Reviewer John Jane

Broken Sex Doll, as described by Jonathan Friedrichs of Virtual Stage in a pre-show prologue, is a “sci-fi musical sex comedy.” Friedrichs may have been downplaying it – especially the “sex” part. Anyone picking up last week’s edition of the Georgia Strait, must have noticed Paula Burrows in the front page poster for this show. Like many promotional posters, it promises more than it delivers. Ms Burrows isn’t actually in the show this time.

Set about 120 years into the future, everyone is totally pre-occupied with sex (much like today, really). Sensory implants allow personal sexual gratification of pleasure or pain to be uploaded and downloaded as a marketable commodity and experienced by anyone; kind of like YouTubeTM with “feelings.”

The future with a population that is technologically propitious, yet emotionally bankrupt hardly seems like such a ludicrous premise. But with gratuitously vulgar language and production quality on a par with a student presentation, playwright and director Andy Thompson (also responsible for set design) takes his erotic fantasy beyond satire, even beyond absurdist, to a point of being ridiculous.

That doesn’t mean that Broken Sex Doll is completely bad. Benjamin Elliott delivers a zany Jim Carey style performance as Daryl, a human turned cyborg. Gili Roskies is delightfully camp as the Ginger 5000 fembot (robot with female anatomy). Programmed as a medical service android and upgraded with sexual performance software, she looks for “human” intimacy with Daryl. Her rendition of “I’ll be yours” provides one of the few poignant moments in the entire show.

Former Cirque Du Soleil performer Neezar is outrageous as a sex anarchist known only as ‘The King.’ His opening of the second act as a puppet-master on stilts singing his own composition “Rise and Shine” is priceless.

But it’s very much Anton Lipovetsky’s rowdy, but infectious songs that make this piece of puerile theatre worth seeing and what the young cast lack in acting nuance, they partly make up for with good looks. The ten member ensemble storms the stage and gets the show under way with “Gimme what you got.” Gili Roskies, Georgia Valeria Swinton, Janessa Shae O’Hearn and Stephanie Moroz team up in the second act with a raunchy rendition of “Dance of the Broken Sex Dolls.”

Comedy, of course, is subjective. For everyone squirming in their seat (like me), it’s reasonable to believe there was someone on the other side of the theatre splitting their sides.

© 2013 John Jane