‘Where are all the asexuals?’ is a question not often asked onstage. Sexuality is a topic that is more than welcome to be discussed and broadcast all over our media, but mostly only the heterosexual kind.
Rant and Rave’s piece exploring different kinds of sexuality and relationships in a time where society is overwhelmed with sex, social justice, pronouns and a lot of uncertainty is a wonderfully blunt and refreshing look at the world.
We follow three storylines, young lesbians Lily and Jay, trans Ellie and her gay boyfriend Connor, and Jordan, a newly realised asexual. Each storyline is unflinching in its approaches and discussion of the problems faced by non-heterosexual couples.
One thing that is incredibly striking about this piece is the casual tone in which everything is approached. They are not trying to make some grand theatrical point about sexuality, but rather using real, conversational language to highlight that these are real issues, affecting real people.
This made the whole performance not only easy to follow and watch, but also made every single character incredibly likeable, leaving the audience feeling as though they were being spoken to as friends. There was no air of pretention, just a genuine wish to educate people and bring them into the lives of these six people.
Each storyline is tackled with guts, and is wonderfully unapologetic in its use of sexual language and content. Maturely directed and performed sex scenes give the piece realism and power, instead of making the audience want to hide behind their programmes and blush, in that very British way we have.
Every cast member was extremely magnetic and watchable, and above all everyone seemed confident and comfortable in their performances.
The one storyline that stuck out to me the most was Jordan’s. I personally identify as asexual and have never seen an openly asexual character on the stage. Jordan’s denial of his sexuality and eventual acceptance was beautiful to watch, and his struggles against the bombardment of sex in our everyday lives was very easy to relate to.
Another aspect of the piece that I think is particularly prevalent to today’s society is labels. How important is it to label yourself? Are they restricting? Can they change? Or is it somehow liberating to suddenly realise you belong to a group of people, and that there are others out there just like you?
The one area in which the production was slightly let down, from an audience point of view, was the ending. I wanted more of these beautifully sculpted characters. I wanted to see what happened to them, whether anything was resolved.
However, from a dramatic point of view, having a sudden ending can also make a strong statement: these are issues that cannot be magically fixed and tied up with a ribbon. I think this is a very important point to make, and nicely sums up this little snapshot of the lives of these characters.
Overall, the show was brilliantly acted, directed and written, with messages that will appeal to audiences of any age, gender and of course, sexuality.
Sexual Fears of a Modern Day Virgin is a Rant and Rave Theatre Company Production