How to Be A Virgin (in 12 morally ambiguous steps)

comedy · lucid dramatics · Ages 17+ · world premiere · United States of America

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Review by SEAN SCOFIELD
June 07, 2016 certified reviewer

What I liked

Beautifully written! Wonderfully directed! Exceptionally acted! This show has so much to like!

Carla Neuss writes with honesty, vulnerability, and just the right amount of hilarity and wit to navigate the sometimes awkward, sometimes intense sexual encounters that power her script. The point of view she offers—a thirty year old, Christian, feminist virgin—is so refreshingly conveyed without agenda, that it should be easy for any audience member to put themselves in The Virgin’s shoes, regardless of personal sexual experience.

Director Payden Ackerman guides the action with tight scenes and meaningful moments. Never does the play seem to dawdle or wallow in it’s own self-awareness—an easy trap for any show that breaks the fourth wall so regularly. Instead, Ackerman often teases the audience with potentially uncomfortable, graphic sexual acts mere inches from the first row, only to spin the tension into comedic relief at the last possible moment.

Katelyn Schiller and Josh Bross have an organic chemistry that is made all the more impressive by the number of different relationships they portray. With each change of character for Bross—of which there are many—the dynamic between the two actors shifts, but never loses potency. His choices are specific, and each new Man he embodies comes alive with distinct energy; her Virgin is sagely naïve and vulnerably in control. In each new sexual adventure, they play off each other as perfect foil and charismatic hero.

What I didn't like

Many times when the action was center stage and the actors were sitting on the bed, it was difficult to see both of them. This is a limitation of the space and the seating arrangement. It did not ruin my experience, but I would encourage audience members to grab a seat up close or near the aisle if possible.

My overall impression

A must see for any Fringe-goer! The collaboration between writer, director and actors shines, as an honest exploration of self and sexuality is brought to life with care and skill.

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