Online pornography. It’s one of the biggest elephants in our collective room in the incredibly interconnected digital world we now find ourselves in. The internet provides us with a limitless amount of sexual content that caters for every possible kink or fetish yet the silence surrounding the issue is deafening. Wonder fool’s, however, wants to break this silence and to start a conversation about how and why we consume the porn that we do, and what that might be doing to us in the process.
The Coolidge effect takes it’s name from a scientific theory that states that it is the variety of sexual experiences rather than the act of sex itself that drives reproductive urges. The show uses this theory to frame the mountains of online pornography that is currently available online and what the consequences of an overexposure to pornography does for our ability to enjoy and process normal sexual experiences.
The show lacks a real plot, whilst there is a rough narrative that links everything together the show is more a series of vignettes, sketches and interactive scenes with the audience that all centre on the theme of pornography and our collective relationship with it. This kaleidoscopic approach can really hobble a show that is unable to link the disparate styles and scenes together but here the script does a wonderful job of ensuring that nothing feels out of place and because of this the play flows at a good measured place. Assisted in this is the fabulous performance given by Robbie Gordon, he does a great job of providing the huge amounts of energy needed to a propel a show forward when you’re the only person on stage for the most of it, and he tackles the always tricky job of audience interaction superbly, making volunteers feel comfortable and encouraging them to jump into their roles in a way that made them some of the most entertaining parts of the show.
It is clear however that the show is still in early development, some of the scenes feel a lot more polished than others and upset the otherwise well managed flow of the show. In particular the strange moments were Gordons assumes a rapper like persona called “Retrospect” and refers to himself in the third person came off as jarring and left me took me out of the mood the show had worked so hard to keep me in up to that point. Similarly whilst the moments of audience interaction are all well managed some feel a lot more token than others, there purely for the novelty of them rather than how well they help the audience feel invested in the shows themes.
Regardless of these small faults the show does an absolutely incredible job of putting it’s message across and being bold in the delivery of its rather timely themes,and at it’s best moments it rocks you with some powerful emotions and statements. The Coolidge effect is a brilliant piece of new writing that the team should be proud of producing and I hope it only gets better in it’s future incarnations.
Guest Reviewer: Joseph McAulay