FEEL THE HEAT: The four play mates get to know each other better.
Risqué (Probemaster Entertainment)
Director: David Tulloch
Cast: Marlon Brown, Alexia Stewart, Stacy Blake, and Curley Roberts
Venue: Stages Theatreplex, New Kingston
Business and pleasure, they say, often make for strange bedfellows. And there is no lesson more urgent than that in Risqué, David Tulloch's new erotic saga, which nearly blasted the roof off of the Stages Theatreplex the other night with its bombastic blend of crime, clever twists, and sex. Lots of sex.
Set at a breezy beachfront villa in Negril, the play follows Howard (Curley Roberts) and Lacey Reese (Stacy Blake), an uptight recently-wed couple from Ironshore looking to spice things up in their lousy marriage, even if only for the weekend. While at the villa, they encounter Mack (Marlon Brown) and Diamond (Alexia Stewart), a hypersexed couple that is the total antithesis of Howard (a timid businessman) and the bratty, condescending Lacey. Nasarah Kerr rounds out the cast as Kim, the hotel's busybody receptionist.
But Mack, with his gigolo tendencies, and Diamond (a roudy motormouth) are determined to get them to "loosen up". Translation: a case of fair exchange, swingers style. Such a scenario can only lead to trouble. And it does. What subsequently plays out is a steamy sequence of events, featuring explicit sex (occasional nudity involved), voyeurism, dildos the size of brooms, and pure endless fun. That is, until things take a seriously dark and dangerous turn and raises the question of how well do you really know your neighbours. And just how much is your marriage worth, for that matter.
As writer and director, Tulloch is a young veteran at pushing the moral boundaries in the theatre, and here he is up to his old tricks yet again, while proving he's got a firm grasp of his daring subject matters. He does quite a skilful job of keeping the pot from boiling over, even when things get a bit too hot to handle.
The actors are no great thespians, so the characterizations are overwhelmingly superficial. Still, they do enough to convince and win over the sizeable audience, which simply lapped up the freaky-deeky offerings.
Though it fancies itself an intense erotic thriller, Risqué largely treads that fine line between riotous roots play and raucous sex-and-scandal dramedy. The result, though, in all fairness, is a hugely entertaining ride, marked by surprising twists and turns, ample humour, and enough heat to fuel a turbo machine. Tyrone's Verdict: B