Writers: Tom Brennan, Tom Crosley-Thorne, Tom England, Emily Greenslade, Jesse Jones, Kerry Lovell, Jesse Meadows, Helena Middleton, James Newton, Ben Vardy, Edythe Wooley
Director: Tom Brennan and Jesse Jones
Music: Tom Crosely-Thorne
Welcome to the 1970s: the decade of the sexual revolution. Birth control was easily accessible, porn became mainstream, attitudes towards different sexualities were changing, and the women’s liberation movement was burgeoning.
It’s this era that The Wardrobe Ensemble has set out to portray in their newly devised piece, 1972: The Future of Sex, opening with the resounding declaration, “this is it”
Cue a group of youngsters sitting in a line lit up for all to see. “This is it” for them and yet the thought of sex terrifies them as they are put under the spotlight. Was the 1970s as liberating for everyone as it is made out to be?
The play moves between four different stories. One follows a shy, bespectacled girl, Anna, afraid to disobey her conservative parents, who discovers liberation when she meets a woman called Terri in a record shop. Another shows a university student, Penny enamoured by her sociology lecturer, Martin. The third follows Christine, nervously waiting to lose her virginity that night, deciding to watch Deep Throat for guidance.
As the show progresses the hormones boil over as the excitement and confliction buzzes between the characters. Under Tom Brennan and Jesse Jones’ direction, this is expressed with intensity through physical acting and flawless comic timing as the cast give third person narrative and project the characters’ inner voices with hilarious results.
The lighting pulses and live music adds to the intensity of the production. All the while the play continuously jumps between the different characters keeping the pace going to the dizzying heights the characters experience.
But as the play nears the climax there is an underlying sense of somberness as it questions liberation. Does it deliver the satisfaction the characters were after as they come back down to earth? For some of them, we witness the regret they have decades later.
Perhaps the most tender strand is the fourth where we see a young man, obsessed with David Bowie, locking himself away in his bedroom trying on his mother’s clothes. His fear of revealing his sexuality to his parents and the world is quite heartfelt.
His scenes were the pinnacle to showing how the sexual revolution wasn’t an easy ride for everybody. Not only is this a fun and energetic production thanks to the cast, but 1972 paints a very sombre picture of what the future of sex may have been for different people.
At only one hour, this exhilarating production well worth seeing.
Runs until 8 October 2016 | Image: Richard Davenport