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Reviews

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Sexual Perversity in Chicago – Sherman Cymru, Cardiff

David Mamet’s award-winning dark comedy about the singles scene in 70s Chicago will be 40 years old next year but its acute observations of the mating game are just as prevalent today in this co-production from Living Pictures and Cegin Productions.

The opening scene is testament to this as two men chat in a bar. The soundtrack is staple disco but the banter could’ve been heard on a night out in any watering hole. Bernie is relaying a recent sexual encounter to his co-worker and friend Danny. The more ludicrous and lewd it becomes in detail, the more hilarious it gets.

Roommates Deborah and Joan are just crass in their observations of the opposite sex, with the former cutting Bernie’s masculinity to shreds whilst attempting to pick her up. The prickly narrative is given additional ire from the setting; the audience is sat in the round and a wired fence separates two levels of seating. The concrete stage provides the ring for the ultimate fighting championship of the sexes to which there is no winner.

Thirty short scenes come and go in a flash but each neatly chronicles the hidden frustrations of each singleton. There is, albeit briefly, some room for light and air as Danny and Deborah get together and the awkward conversations at the beginning of their relationship are cute (‘I can make dinner if you like? / ‘Do you want to make dinner?’)

Co-habitation provides the catalyst in Danny and Deborah’s doomed romance as both are given acidic advice from their friends on the sidelines (of course, neither has a clue themselves on how to operate successfully in the mating game).

Sexual Perversity in Chicago is rude, crude and downright funny. It’s not to everyone’s liking (two audience members scuttled out halfway through which is all the more difficult when you’re sat in the round) but for those who have the stomach for the battle of the sexes, it’s a gripping contest.

Sexual Perversity in Chicago is currently on tour across Wales until March 7th. Click here and type ‘Sexual Perversity in Chicago’ in the search engine for your nearest tour date.

Michael Took