What I liked
Center and Ferree’ performances are terrific, they share such electric chemistry you can’t help but root for them to succeed. Rarely do you see such actors have such a tangible relationship on stage
Centers portrayal of Oliva who begins as a meek writer cast with shadow self-doubt is so very relatable, anyone who has struggled with self-confidence and finding success later in life can certainly relate.
Ferree is a perfect foil as Ethan, braggadocios, loud, and so self sure of himself. It is engrossing to watch his layered performance as you see Ethan put on the mask of Ethan Strange, and it is a perfect example of someone who can lose themselves within their narrative.
What I didn't like
The play itself starts a little slow, and it can take a moment to wind up, its a full two-hour performance with a five-minute intermission, this might be a bit long for the faced past nature of the Hollywood Fringe Festival. That being said after the end of Act I, this play begins to fire on all cylinders, and you can’t help but be taken along for the ride.
My overall impression
Playwrite/Producer Laura Eason(House of Cards) hit drama Sex with Strangers premiered initially in 2011 at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater, after successful runs, off-Broadway this intellectually stimulating production returns to the west coast for the 2019 Hollywood Fringe Festival.
The play chronicles the relationship both professional and romantic between Olivia(Melissa Center). A talented but burnt-out author in her late thirties who stopped writing for anyone but herself after her first novel was received with poor reviews. Also, Ethan(Jake Ferree), a twenty-something-year-old New York Times bestselling author and self-described “asshole” who writes under the name “Ethan Strange” whose success has come from writing about his debauchery playboy lifestyle in his book “Sex with Strangers” accounts his series of sexual hookups which are the very personification of Fratire.