Sexual Perversity In Chicago

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 May, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 May, 2003, 12:00am

The Queens Cafe Theatre Company's production of David Mamet's 1974 satire of sex and romance, Sexual Perversity In Chicago, was a tremendous success on its opening night. The actors sparkled on stage and the wicked humour earned cackles and howls of laughter from an audience that seemed delighted to be back in the theatre. There were only five masks in a full house.

It is the story of Dan and Deb: 20-somethings who have a one-night stand and fall into a relationship. Their respective friends, Bernie and Joan, offer advice and interference from the sidelines.

Ciaran O'Halloran plays brash Bernie, an overbearing character with an endless stream of tall stories of his hilarious sexual encounters. Although initially shaky (with a faltering American accent), he soon warmed to his role as a chauvinistic and sex-crazed cynic. By the end he had the audience spluttering with laughter at the mere wave of his hand.

Meanwhile, Nic Gorman shone in his portrayal of Dan. With a slick New York drawl, he proved to be a natural with the subtleties of Mamet's wit - and his onstage electricity with Anna Ling Kaye's Deb made their courtship (starting with some classic chat-up lines) utterly believable.

Looking like a Eurasian Jennifer Lopez, Kaye plays Deb's character naturally: reacting to Dan's pick-up lines, she starts with coy innocence. Once she gets in the bedroom, she unleashes the daring, taboo-shaking stuff with ease. Her bitter best friend, Joan, a kindergarten teacher who is out of luck with love, is given a warm lift by Amanda Holden, who infuses the role with humour, excelling, like Gorman, with her comic delivery.

Directors Mike Ingham and Emily Hyde wanted to lift the play out of Chicago, and place it 'any big city'. They succeeded. As the 33 rapid episodes swing from bars to offices, art galleries and steamy bedrooms, it's like watching a particularly witty version of Friends, only with far dirtier jokes than you're likely to catch on TV.

Sexual Perversity In Chicago. Today, 3pm and 8pm, Fringe Club, 2 Lower Albert Rd, Central. $100, members $80, students $50. Ticketek. Inquiries: 2521 7251