1972: The Future of Sex, Shoreditch Town Hall, theatre review: ‘Sex is reinvented for every era’

The Future of Sex. Picture: Jack Offord

The Future of Sex. Picture: Jack Offord - Credit: Archant

In Wardrobe Ensemble’s vibrant 1972: The Future of Sex ‘Little earthquakes and little earthquakes after that’ are what define every generation as they discover sex and blithely imagine they reinvent it.

The class of 1972 is in the spotlight.

Sitting in an awkward line up of beige, Biba and spangles, their faces are etched with apprehension or naked fear as they anticipate the sexual revolution that awaits them - zealously announced by the bearded narrator into his microphone.

Directed by Tom Brennan and Jesse Jones and devised by the company, the ensemble keeps the pace brisk and witty. Highly emotive choreography and live guitar - plus a soundtrack favouring David Bowie - underscore the earthquake moments.

Period detail is spot-on.

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There’s Penny who seduces her sociology Tutor whilst reading him Lady Chatterley’s Lover, innocent Christine who wants to lose her virginity to earnest would-be rock star Rich [but learns about sex watching Deep Throat], and art-school Anton who yearns to come out to his gentle, working class parents.

With some fast-forward revelations, characters broaden into layered individuals and we see how deeply regrets can cut into middle age with disappointments that become impossible to shift.

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For Anna, discovering true love Tessa has settled into a conventional marriage 20 years on feels like a crashing betrayal, not to mention the bruising shock both acknowledge at seeing Germaine Greer on Celebrity Big Brother.

With some accelerated fact filling narrated into microphones, the show charts its timeline from Mary Wollstonecraft’s Rights of Women to a present where Porn Hub is a common mode of sex education.

The points made are political as much as personal: the tension of squaring sexual liberation with gender equality continues.

Tender but ceaselessly buoyant, there’s even some neat appearances from bouncy space hoppers to entertain.

The Future of Sex is at Shoreditch Town Hall.

Rating: 5/5 stars.

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