Pleasance Courtyard – The Green
Sex addiction is a blistering topic which we don’t often see approached on stage with the same honesty as in The Unicorn. Writer Sam Potter had a choice on whether to glamorise it or make it sound bleak. Instead she went for both, taking us through its highs and lows.
We meet Andrea (Georgina Fairbanks) on her way to her London job; a confident young woman who cares very little about what others may think of her. A few minutes later she’s being let go by her employer. She doesn’t fit within the team, they say, but the truth is that she has reported her boss for his unwanted attentions. Unemployed and without savings, her confidence falters, pouring into rage at first, then worry.
Her resilience is inspiring, as she quickly goes from spending the days wallowing in sorrow to diving into serial dating. No strings attached, of course; she knows what she wants and she’s perfectly in control. Her only display of weakness is turning back to an ex who has clearly moved on.
When app dating evolves into sex parties, a new chapter of her life starts. Cutting-edge lighting and glamorous dresses make us believe that she’s finally liberated and having a great time. The realisation that we are witnessing the compulsions of an addict then comes as a surprise. We’re now stuck with her on a rollercoaster ride, shifting from praise for finding herself to pity for losing touch with reality.
Fairbanks embodies the character as if it always belonged to her. Her body arches and stretches as she portrays other roles too. Director Anthony Greyley adds his own stamp in the shape of a Perspex screen that is used to produce the sexiest scene in the play: theatrical craftmanship at its best.
Ultimately, The Unicorn is a sad story, in which empowerment follows winding routes. But it is also a beacon for those who are suffering from the same addiction.
Written by: Sam Potter
Directed by: Anthony Greyley
Produced by: Ox Productions
The Unicorn plays at Pleasance Courtyard until 29 August. Further information and bookings here.