Fecund Theatre Company
Written and Directed by John Keates
Unity Theatre (21st February 2007)

Reviewed by Helen Grey

I was intrigued by the ‘adults only’ rating that had been given to the play ‘Special'. My interest further increased when I read the promotional material: ‘[Special] charts the journey of a couple who discover a sense of contentment through intense sexual experiences. It is a challenging and provocative exploration of inner needs, human nature and the discovery of profound peace through pain and orgasm'.

Pain is right. The production saw Steve (Ian Golding) have his cock and balls flicked, punched, scratched and have copious amounts of Deep Heat rubbed on them by his wife Emily (Elisa Lasowski). But fear not. No balls were hurt in the making of this production. This was because the actors remained fully clothed throughout the play. When they simulated sex they would describe what they were wearing, such as: ‘I am wearing small red silk knickers and high heels'. When Steve was meant to be naked he held out a dildo (to which all the nasty things happened) and proclaimed: ‘I am naked'.

I thought the decision to keep the actors' clothes may be a statement about how, even though they are sharing each other's bodies they were still disconnected from each other. But ultimately I felt a bit cheated that the actors and director did not have the balls (pardon the pun) to actually do what they described. Having said that ‘Special’ did successfully explore the motivations behind extreme sex and the links it can have to the psyche. The performances from both actors were convincing and professional. It could benefit from being a little shorter but overall this is an interesting piece of theatre.

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