The Rediscovery Of Sex suffers from a bad case of dramatis interruptus.
A thematic sequel to I Love You, Baby Blue, the Theatre Passe Muraille collective that caused an art-and-censorship scandal in 1975 with its frank depiction of all things sexual in zipped-up Toronto, the show uses a revue format to look at sex in this city in the 21st century. Unfortunately, it never heats up.
Paul Thompson, who directed both shows, has gathered a sextet of mostly new actors to collectively create the piece. Problem is, it's hard to shock or enlighten us with depictions of four-letter words in today's been-there, done-that or at least seen-it-on-a-daytime-TV-talkshow world.
There are some fine comic moments, one involving a native artist (Darrell Dennis) forced to exploit his ethnic background for the titillation of a white art dealer (Sarah M. Smith). Another scene features Jamie Robinson as a Scripture-quoting minister delivering a striptease sermon.
But there are others, like one involving the straight guy (Robinson) who discovers his gay side, or the woman phone-sex operator (the fine Rosalba Martinni) mouthing obscenities while filing her nails, that are so cliched they're insulting.
Still, some unexpected bits prick our interest, even without a clear focus or arc to the show. A woman (Smith) who's had a partial mastectomy shies away from her partner. A serial killer (Bruce Beaton) is moved by a Robert Frost poem recited by his victim.
The actors, slipping in and out of scenes and clothes, are fine, especially Beaton, who can evoke laughter by playing a Swedish swinger and then mystery as a kilt-wearing transsexual prostitute. I'm sure we'll see these actors in more shows. Let's hope they aren't working with a script that's so naked.
THE REDISCOVERY OF SEX, conceived, directed and co-created by Paul Thompson, co- created and performed by Bruce Beaton, Darrell Dennis, Rosalba Martinni, Natasha Priest, Jamie Robinson and Sarah M. Smith. Presented by Alianak Theatre Productions in association with Theatre Passe Muraille and Mainstage Productions at Passe Muraille (16 Ryerson). Runs to May 28, Tuesday-Saturday at 8 pm, matinee Sunday 2:30 pm. $19-$28, stu/srs discounts, Sunday pwyc. 504-7529. Rating: NNN