What draws me back to The Space time and again is that they take risks, never afraid to go out on a limb with a crazy new idea. Yes, sometimes it fails, but other times, you think wow! this is interesting. A show might not be the finished article, but you still watch in wonder and excitement at the potential within.
Post Sex Spagbol is absolutely one of those shows. Don’t let that three-star rating fool you – in this case three means “a great start, now show me what more you can do.” This is a production that should be taken on further, Katie Bignell’s script rewritten and refined. Then it could be really special.
The play’s premise itself is the first great delight. Krissy (played by Bignell) is a new counsellor and sex-ed teacher at an all-girls boarding school, who mainly got the job as her dad is headmaster. After a drunken discussion wondering if our lives are actually pre-ordained, she takes on her friend’s questionable suggestion to mess with her students’ heads, proceeding to give some very dubious sex-ed advice to see how they still turn out as they grow up. We get some amazing words of wisdom to the class, from blue balls being a real problem to ‘you can’t get pregnant if you have sex in daytime only’. And that’s one of her milder suggestions: you should hear her advice on contraception!
It’s through this silly idea that we’re presented with musings on sex from a female perspective, a topic which, let’s be honest guys, is something that we perhaps don’t give enough thought to other than the occasional “how was it for you?” Post Sex Spagbol really isn’t afraid to be coarse and tell us that yes, women self-pleasure and yes, women can have some damn dirty thoughts, however much the sex industry is geared so much more towards men and their enjoyment. There is also plenty of food for thought on why sex-ed still seems taboo to many, and why us Brits get so squeamish about anything remotely sexual being discussed, especially by woman. These are themes that could be further worked upon.
But it’s not just the silly central premise that makes this show so promising. The creativity at play through the basic set is another sure-fire sign that with a bigger budget they could do even more. The set basically consists of three white wooden boxes. They’re manoeuvred around by the cast (along with Bignell, consisting of Georgia Livingston and Signe Ebbesen) to create everything, from desks and tables to the all-important bed! But they are moved with elegance under Caitlin Lee Smith’s directing, the actors’ movements all part of the performance.
So where next? The script does need tightening up. There’s currently some uncertainty as to how scenes intertwine. With numerous, marvellously enjoyable, threads, they need better focus. I became confused between characters, at times not totally sure who were schoolgirls, who were adults. But this is easily resolved and will surely come naturally as the play is developed. Some threads will perhaps need to be cut, but that central core is strong enough that it will survive.
Post Sex Spagbol is already a lovely show that’s worth checking out now. But more importantly, it feels like it could be so much more, something rather unique and exciting. It really deserves to be taken away, worked upon and then brought back, to show us what they learnt from this first outing. And when it does, sign me up for reviewing it again, I really believe this is just a few steps away from being five stars.
[Note that this review was completed via The Space’s On-demand service and not in-person.]
Written by: Katie Bignell
Directed by: Caitlin Lee Smith
Produced by: Thistle & Rose
Post Sex Spagbol is available via The Space’s on-demand service until 23 September 2022 here.