The one-act comedy, “Is There Sex After Marriage” drives over some very familiar ground but manages some telling insights and good laughs along the way. The whole idea of marriage being the death of passion has been done to death, but playwright/director Jeff Gould still finds some ways to keep it interesting, in large part due to a talented and energetic cast. The story focuses on one couple, Roger and Sherry (Jeff Witzke and Challen Cates, both excellent) who are experiencing the usual sex once every month malaise. This, of course, effects Roger more than Sherry, who is too busy with her environmental volunteering to even notice Roger’s distress until he directly brings it up at a party with two other couples, Mindy and Joe, and Zach and Beth. Mindy and Joe have apparently not had sex since the invention of the internet, yet Zach and Beth confess to having sex every day. How do they do it? Roger wants to know. And this query sets off a series of uncomfortable questions about adultery and swinging that neither Roger nor Sherry are really equipped to deal with. Yet, like any good TV movie, it all works out in the end after a good deal of trouble along the way.
The cast is universally top notch, with kudos going to Lisa Summerscales who completely fooled me in a triple casting tour de force—and who also had the funniest moment in the show with an incredibly loud and hilarious orgasm. Vince Duvall, as the neighbor Joe, has an expert deadpan delivery that renders every line a little funnier than it probably should be. Joel Berti (Zach/Bob) and Melinda Hughes (Wendy/Karen) are also both terrific in double roles.
The show starts a little slowly but picks up the pace once everyone is introduced and Roger and Sherry are allowed to grow on the audience as a couple. There are genuine moral conflicts that are actually confronted and resolved and the couple are forced to decide if they actually do love each other, and what exactly they want from their marriage. Is sex really that important, or is there something even better? They’re not new questions, but they are worth thinking about for an hour or so. And this funny show is not afraid to offer some answers.
“Is There Sex After Marriage” runs at Theatre Asylum for the Fringe Festival:
June 12, 20, 24, 25 at 10pm
June 14 at 5pm
June 21 at 9pm
June 27 at 11 pm.