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2/12/14

Sex Tips For Straight Women From a Gay Man...Or That Time I Gave My Program a Handjob

An open suggestion to anyone mounting a show…make me glad I showed up to your production, for one reason or another.


I’m not expecting Tony Kushner-ian supremacy every time I take my seat because so few writers are able to hit every superlative in one sitting. In fact, the quadfecta of descriptors I default to, in simpler terms, are ‘dramatic', ‘funny', ‘entertaining’ and/or ‘smart’.

One or two of the four will work plenty fine if well-executed. With Sex Tips for Straight Women From a Gay Man, playing at the 777 Theatre, we got the funny and entertaining portions covered. 

The “plot” (using that term loosely) revolves around an author’s interactive discussion at at university  in Manhattan. But instead of the author you would expect, we have a gaudy performer with props and sound effects at his disposal. And instead of a book that would be, y’know, allowed in a college discussion series, we have the book the title of the show is based off of. With chapters like "foreplay is more play."

Sex Tips priorities were less concerned with having a story or compelling characters. It is much more interested in flaunting the sex-on-a-stick Russian production assistant, a wannabe scientist/astronaut with amazing muscle definition. But aside from that, the story instills in you flirting and seduction tips and most importantly, proper handjob technique! It even goes as far as staging an "air handjob” competition with members of the audience and forcing convincing the rest of the patrons to practice on our programs. Quite frankly, they should take it up a notch and sell t-shirts saying, “I learned how to give a fantastic hand job” in the lobby. I’d take two of them in a XL size.

It’s fun, though. Any show that has its actors utter lines like, “I’m gonna make your vajayjay happy and moist” with the seriousness of an impending apocalypse could only be fun. There are times when you fear the enthusiasm might wear off or the writing may go one crass joke too far. And if you are like me and can be a bit of a stickler, the leads, Lindsay Nicole Chambers and Jason Michael Snow, seem to be playing a variation of themselves.

But all of that worrying amounts to nothing because Chambers and Snow are a freakin’ riot together. Chambers - late of Lysistrata Jones and Triassic Parq - is one of the few theatre actresses I’ve seen that could double as a comedienne in the classic-Saturday Night Live mold. Give her the spotlight and a moment of silence and she will make you laugh with just her facial ticks, reactions and body language. Her awkward, adorable cluelessness at pining for the hot Russian production assistant/scientist/stripper/space cadet (or something) felt sincere and relatable.

Snow is, to use the cliched meme that it is, EVERYTHING. The boy made his entrance to “Applause” by Lady Gaga and it was all eyes on him. He’s quick, stylish and sassy, serving up informative seduction techniques while having witty bon mots on standby. But for all his flair, Snow does have a certain polish about him when delivering his lines. Too much and it would be a few degrees passed "trying way too hard.” The way he charms the audience and coaxes Chambers moderator-like character through unfamiliar sexual territories is a nice balancing act.

You may not exactly apply the lessons you’ve learned at Sex Tips (or maybe you will, all the power to ya!). And complexity was not exactly on the menu. But just like the moment when the Russian assistant gives a full-blown striptease in outer space to send us on home, just laugh along and not give a single fuck. With the hilarious moments and charismatic performances Sex Tips offers up, it is easy to play along.


Ticket provided by the production


Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel

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