Today’s obsession with modern technology and its effect on relationships is studied in #Sexts, a humorous little play written and directed by Andy De.
We meet a group of young friends gathered for a wedding reception, and as is the new norm in our society, they all have their phones in hand. Margaret Brown and Michael Reilly stand behind them at the back of the stage, using monotone, robotic voices to voice their texts to the audience. The dialogue is smart, sharp, and witty. Ryan (Michael Silver) shows continual contempt for his friends preoccupations with their phones, and when his voice goes unheard, he uses the source itself to get his point across with a clever prank that had the audience rolling.
As the plot delves deeper into the complex lives of the characters, their texts go from playful and trivial to positively life-changing. We see how Dean (Eric Cline) deals with the reality that his mother is terminally ill, and its effect on his relationship with his live-in girlfriend Cassie (Erica Smith). Blake (Erik Harrison) and Janet (Emily Mullin) fight to save their long-distance relationship, and Vicky (Rebecca Fischler) must deal with an unplanned pregnancy. This show has a great balance of drama and humor, which makes it rich and real.
The performances, while a bit rushed, were full of talent. All of the actors delivered quality performances, but a few did particularly stand out. Over the years, I have reviewed quite a few shows that featured Erik Harrison, and I love it whenever he pops up onstage– I have come to expect a lot from him, and he has yet to disappoint. His portrayal of Blake begins as that of a fun-loving partier full of wit, and develops into one of the most complex characters. Rebecca Fischler was fantastic as the anxious, constantly frazzled Vicky, and Victoria Glock-Molloy got a ton of laughs as Janet’s free-spirited roommate.
The actors all did a great job with this piece, although I do have two big concerns: the dialogue, while nicely written, was delivered a mile-a-minute and led to a lot of material being lost in confusion. Quite a bit of dialogue was also missed because it was so funny that the audience’s laughter drowned out the next several sentences. While this is a compliment to the writing, it is also an issue that needs attention. Speed was definitely the biggest concern with this show– once that issue is polished up, we will have a nice little gem at the Fringe.
Running Time: 60 minutes.