All American Sex Addict/Woke AF!

ensemble theatre · kadm productions · Ages 18+ · United States of America

includes nudity world premiere
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Review by JEFF LAUB

June 18, 2018 certified reviewer

What I liked

I was a fan of Matt Morillo’s 2012 Fringe production, “The Inventor, The Escort, The Photographer, Her Boyfriend, and His Girlfriend,” so I was excited to see that he was putting up another show (and that Jenni Halina was returning). When this show started, I was surprised to discover that it was a reworking of the second act of “The Inventor…” production. The broad strokes setup is the same (New Yorkers in an apartment building while a storm rages outside) and some of the beats are the same (the police roleplaying game and the artistic dance performance), however, this is just a framework for an entirely new story. Halina is playing a different character, but she shares similar traits with her role in the 2012 show (both are free-spirited artists), so it was fascinating to see her on-stage again playing an evolved version of the same character.

What I didn't like

The play shifts between tones; there is broad comedy clearly meant to satirize an obsession with political correctness and wokeness (I enjoyed Jack, the male lead, proudly bragging about calling someone out for an insensitive remark they made in 1987), and there are also many serious moments highlighting the negative impact that our rush-to-judgment culture can have (such as the story of the progressive professor that Ashley hounded into losing his job). I think a play certainly can have multiple tones like this, but it was not always clear how some beats were supposed to play or what the audience’s reaction was supposed to be. These are issues that could be fixed with some re-writes or different direction, but overall I thought the script was strong.

My overall impression

The show playfully blends farce and drama to explore the topic of how we balance living respectfully in a multicultural world without descending into ridiculousness. Some aspects of the script and the direction need workshopping, but there is a strong message here that is supported by enthusiastic performances from the four-person cast.

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