Content note: the show (and this review) contains adult themes, and discussions of sex, rape, abortion, and relationships in general.
The Melbourne edition of All The Sex I’ve Ever Had is quite possibly the most warm, safe space I’ve ever drifted into in a theatre, for an open, honest and loving conversation about sex and relationships, and yet it was still both serious and light hearted and funny all at the same time.
Written, directed, and producer by Darren O’Donnell, Alice Fleming and Tina Fance, this show has visited Singapore, Prague, Philadelphia, and now Melbourne, bringing a sex positive message to communities all over the world. Their cast is drawn from locals with little to no stage experience, and the content is all based around their own lives, leading to one of the most authentic and honest experiences I’ve had in theatre. All six performers are aged in their 60s to 80s, and all the talk about sex is just an excuse to share the extraordinary courage of older people, and their ability to share and accept our vulnerabilities, our differences and our experiences.
Monogamy, relationships, sex and more are delved into by the performers, and then responded to by the audience, with questions like “How many audience members have had been in an open relationship, and has it worked?” or “How many audience members have been in a relationship affected by substance abuse?” to get the conversation rolling.
I’d like to set down a few basic ground rules for attendees of the show. The first is a pledge made by all audience members at the start of the show – we will not gossip or judge what is said in this space, and what happens at All the Sex I’ve Ever Had stays there (so hopefully, I haven’t given away too much of the magic).
I’d like to also impart on participants the following:
- Don’t yuck someone’s yum
Not everyone is into the same things. The audience members are honest with their stories. The performers are honest in their experiences. Some things are presented as funny, and some aren’t, and while we are all entitled to our own opinions, what makes us laugh and what makes us offended, let’s all just be respectful about what is discussed here.
- Respect is key
I say it again- in this space; people have bared their souls. Abuse is discussion, alongside abortion, rape, substance abuse, premature ejaculation, losing your virginity…. All in both funny and serious ways. Listen, learn and appreciate the audience members who are brave enough to share their stories, as well as well as the six performers and MC Moses, who all share funny, confronting and shocking stories.
- Take a wine (if you’d like) and take a good friend
I had a great time at this show. I haven’t had a good belly chuckle like this in a long time, I laughed so hard I got stomach pains. I also had a few tears, some shocked moments, some moments where I said “awww” – it is a real rollercoaster of emotions and an honest, loving, warm space. Take a good friend and have a laugh, and have a wine (If you are so inclined) and relax, and enjoy a truly heart warming show. It’s important to relax and get comfortable so you can really appreciate this show.
The conversations are real and the stories explore good and bad experiences throughout the lives of six unique individuals. This magical show played from Thursday 12 – Sunday 15 October at the Arts Centre Playhouse.