Devisors: The Wardrobe Ensemble
Director: Tom Brennan and Jesse Jones
Reviewer: Hannah Hiett
The strains of ex-One Directioner Zayne Malik and Rihanna, greet you as you walk into the theatre, the sexual soundtrack of 2016. As you wait for the show to begin, the playlist takes a turn into contemporary funk, the recent rebirth of disco spearheaded by Nile Rogers and acolytes, and then the fuzz of an analogue radio, winding us back through time, past Britney and Madonna, all the way to 1972, where Ziggy Stardust is Top of The Pops.
There is a line of retro chairs on stage, each distinct from the other, and a backdrop of horrible brown wallpaper. We are in a waiting room. A place of possibility, and a place of nostalgia – a moment of anticipation from a generation ago.
One by one, a brilliant ensemble cast introduce us to a collection of young characters as they grapple with the agony, awkwardness and hysteria of their first sexual encounters. It is both delightfully relateable and charmingly dated, with a politically charged undercurrent that gives the work a much-needed bit of bite.
Anton is young man who wears his mothers clothes in secret, Tessa and Anna lock eyes across the David Bowie section of the record store, Christine and Rich are planning to go all the way tonight and Penny has been reading Lady Chatterley’s lover aloud to her lecturer in crowded pub. Many of the elements are consciously clichéd – the breathless student and her poetry-writing, politically right-on teacher; the boy in lipstick hiding from his parents… we’ve seen these characters before, they are part of our cultural make-up, they taught us about first love, and first disappointments, they taught us about coming out Britain in the 1970’s and 80’s, about wanting it and not wanting it… but what we haven’t seen before are the flashes into the future, of our class of 1972 in 1989, 2000, 2016… glimpses of the future that are sometimes, often inevitably, a little melancholy.
1972: The Future of Sex has all the technicolour warmth of a cult coming-of-age comedy, with original music performed live onstage and a sharp choreography that keeps it dynamic, alive, young and fizzing with promise.
Reviewed on Friday 20 May