Review: Laughter & Heartfelt Tears in Talking Sex on Sunday

Photo Credit: Reznek Creative

You’ll leave the Firehall Arts Centre feeling energized, uplifted, and most of all, thoroughly entertained.

A new musical has launched in Vancouver, and there’s still time to catch it before it closes.

From now until March 8, 2020, the Firehall Arts Centre (280 East Cordova) presents the world premiere of Talking Sex on Sunday (book and lyrics by Sara-Jeanne Hosie; music by Sara-Jeanne Hosie and Nico Rhodes; directed by Donna Spencer).

The premise of the show is immediately titillating: a group of women hold a theme party every Sunday. The usual suspects: Tupperware and books. However, this Sunday, Margot, who organizes the gathering, decides to throw a sex toy party. No surprise that unabashed hilarity ensues.

However, it’s the nature of the humour that is particularly clever and empowering. And it’s related to the musical’s central themes, ones highly relevant to the upcoming International Women’s Day (March 8). Yes, there are ludicrously funny gags about dildos and edible body powders, but many of the biggest laughs come from a sense of freedom to talk (and sing!) openly: about taboos related to sex, about misconceptions of female pleasure, and about overall limiting expectations related to sex and sexuality.

On the surface, Talking Sex on Sunday is about a bunch of female pals who have fun together over glasses of wine. But as the story unfolds, and the various characters unburden themselves both to their friends and to us, the audience, it reveals a beating heart of increasing female understanding. Brace yourself for some plot twists (I’m still reeling from them), as well as an overall story arc that sees the individual women become more self-aware and confident about their sexual identities and willingness to pursue their previously unvoiced desires.

Photo Credit: Reznek Creative

And they belt wonderfully while doing so. Hosie and Rhodes have written incredibly catchy tunes, with lyrics that are both witty and insightful. Who knew that a super vibrator could be the theme of a song with a great beat? The cast have great voices as they sing their individual as well as ensemble numbers.

A huge part of the charm of the show lies in the chemistry between the various characters. The show brings together a talented group of women (Janet Gigliotti, Jennifer Lines, Sara Vickruck, Irene Karas Loeper, Caitriona Murphy, Katrina Reynolds, & Seana-Lee Wood) who truly seem to get along fabulously. The friendship seems real, and the actors exude a joy over spending time together on stage. As a result, the poignant moments feel genuine and raw, a feat that often eludes many performances on stage.

Janet Gigliotti (left) and Jennifer Lines (right); Photo Credit: Reznek Creative

While all the cast members are exemplary, Janet Gigliotti particularly shines in her role as the protagonist Margot, who’s stuck in a sex-less relationship and battling body insecurities related to growing older. Not only does she have an impressive singing voice, but she strikes an emotional chord with her mix of feminine bravado and hidden vulnerability. Additional props go to Sara Vickruck who plays Frankie, a character that challenges imposed hetero-normativity, Irene Karas Loeper who does a hilarious job of playing the new age vixen (along the lines of Samantha in Sex and the City), and Katrina Reynolds who brings life to the role of a disarming prude/secret rebel.

Overall, Talking Sex on Sunday is a stellar show that will, hopefully, inspire more frank conversations about sex that foster better relationships and increased empowerment.

Further info and tickets can be found on-line.

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