SEX IDIOT till 15 May

Sex Idiot: Bryony Kimmings
The Junction, Cambridge
Review: Richard Smith: 28 February 2011

See for further details.
Runs 1 hour

Charm, genuinely funny, but is it emotionally honest deep down?

Sex Idiot is a collection of songs, poems, dances and chat from Bryony Kimmings, the self styled ‘Sex Idiot’. She decides to revisit her sexual history after being informed that she has contracted an STD. If that sounds like a sort of Performance Art version of Jim Jarmusch’s Broken Flowers you’d be right. As she readily admits “I basically stole the idea from that!”

What follows is a series of vignettes about past boyfriends, courting rituals and her horror at the word ‘vagina’. It is filthy and funny with a mind that is never far from the gutter. A playful parody of the video for Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues with Kimmings substituting the lyrics for as many terms for female genitalia as she can find whilst flicking through cue cards, brings big laughs and will ensure you never see the original in the same way again.

As a performer Kimmings has genuine charm and the show is frequently very funny. She has a great skill at disguising her punch lines so that just as you are wondering if it has all become a little indulgent she hits you with the joke. You end up roaring with laughter, the proof she offers that a man is lying if he ever says that his penis is too big for a condom is just one such example.

Kimmings is obviously aware that the performance is built on many of the clichés of the genre but the energy with which she ploughs through them means that you find yourself forgetting, or at the very least not caring about them so much. ‘If you’re gonna see Performance Art you’re gonna have to expect to see some tits and arse,’ is how she eloquently puts it.

The problem with the show is that, despite being in various states of undress for much of the time, she never approaches that point of nakedness emotionally. We are always kept at a distance so that even as things become more serious towards the end, these moments lack the resonance she had perhaps intended.

Sex Idiot won Kimmings the Best Emerging Company Award at the 2010 Total Theatre Awards and if she can learn to bare as much of her soul as she does of her body then we could see the rise of a very real talent indeed.

Director: Bryony Kimmings.

2011-03-08 09:50:57

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