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September 13, 2010 | by  | in Theatre | [ssba]

My First Time

The website on which the play My First Time is based——is bleak.

It is a user-submitted catalogue of tales about people losing their virginity. It’s not as amusing as it sounds. But does somewhat reaffirm the easily assumed universal points of similarity between people’s first times—brevity, awkwardness and dissatisfaction. My First Time takes the anonymously submitted tales of the website and uses them as performance text (with occasional, and somewhat hokey, interjections from surveys the audience fill out about their own first times). This text is easily the weakest part of this production. While mostly inoffensive and usually rather giggle worthy, when it treads into more serious or weighty concepts, it stumbles. It rather hamfistedly pounds out truisms, and doesn’t seem sure enough of its own point to articulate it all that well. Also, that the conclusion of the work is to sum up the mass of issues and ideas that have arisen over the previous 90 minutes with “it’s always better the second time” is, in my eyes, simply lazy.

It stands as great tribute to this production, currently running at Circa theatre, that they manage to pull off such a magnetic and entertaining production with such a mixed bag of a text. The four-strong cast—Aaron Alexander, Danielle Mason, Simon Vincent and Judith Gibson—all do outstanding work. The material for the women is notably stronger than that for the men, Gibson, especially, giving a series of performances that reach far higher and truer scopes of emotion and reality than this flan of a text really deserves. The men make good work of several misjudged sequences—the text’s treatment of the issue of rape being foremost in its resorting to broad, ignorant terms, blurring the issues around the idea under discussion.

Ross Jolly has conjured from this lacklustre script a very worthwhile and amusing production. It may be slight and large stretches of it quite forgettable but, above all else, is funny. Like proper, out loud laughter funny. With Shipwrecked! playing in Circa Two and this in Circa, it is a good time to be a theatre fan.

My First Time
wri. Ken Davenport and “Real People Just Like You”
dir. Ross Jolly
perf. Aaron Alexander, Danielle Mason, Simon Vincent and Judith Gibson
At Circa Theatre until the 2 October


About the Author ()

Uther was one of the two arts editors in 2009. He was the horoscopier and theatre writer in 2010. Alongside Elle Hunt, Uther was coeditor in 2011.

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