The Coolidge Effect gets serious about pornography (3 stars)

The Coolidge Effect

Wonder Fool theatre company take a sex education approach to porn at expense of theatricality

The leaflet handed to each audience member by The Reward Foundation as they enter the theatre claims that 7 million 'porn sessions' link to the biggest porn content provider every day in the UK. The foundation's information sets the performance's frank and educational tone. Wonder Fools are keen to emphasise their production is a discussion: tell anyone you're going to see a show about porn and after the crude jokes and raised eyebrows a deeper conversation usually follows.

Robbie Gordon gives an endearing performance, switching from playful narrator to awkward 12-year-old boy, to his porn-addicted father. He does well to merge between all three, enlisting audience members for help; but perhaps because so much happens in such a short space of time, the characters don't quite come to life. The Coolidge Effect retains the feeling of a sex education class, with awkward but amusing audience participation, the science behind it patiently explained, and a depiction of how this addiction can spiral out of control.

There's nothing titillating about this cleverly-written production, which tackles a difficult theme with respect. But perhaps in taking such a measured approach, some degree of theatricality has been lost. Nonetheless, this is an honest, well-crafted performance which should keep people talking.

27–30 Sept, Tron Theatre, Glasgow; 20 Oct, Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling.

Wonder Fools present: The Coolidge Effect

Contemporary piece exploring society's relationship with pornography.

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