What’s in a number? Walking Shadow Theatre Company’s latest production, “The Sexual Lives of Savages,” looks at our relationships and the sexual politics that arise when a man finds out he has a lot less experience in bed than his girlfriend.
Critics generally agree that the show is well-directed, but the script needs work. Where they don’t agree is in the performances; some can relate to the lead male, others find him intolerable.
It’s not a perfect presentation, but in approaching the subject with a maximum of humor and insight and a minimum of titillation, the play does a great deal well… Director Amy Rummenie is able to defuse much of the dramaturgical misfiring with smooth, confident and well-cast staging. Joe Bombard — skinny, bespectacled, with a perpetually furrowed brow — is spot-on as Hal. He articulately walks us through the struggles of a guy who really wants to understand the swirl of sexual energies around him but simply is not wired to do so.
Unfortunately, Ian MacAllister-McDonald‘s play, to put it mildly, disappoints. The major character, Hal (Joe Bombard), is a reedy nebbish, a jealous, insecure, and thoroughly unlikable worm who “slut-shames” his decent girlfriend, Jean (a terrific turn by Meghan Kreidler), by obsessing on her past sexual dalliances: “You had twenty-five lovers?” he exclaims, shocked.
MacAllister-McDonald’s script doesn’t exactly bring all of these ideas into focus. With five characters fighting for space, some of them take long stretches of time out of the spotlight… Amy Rummenie directs the Walking Shadow Theatre Company cast with a solid hand, bridging the episodes of the script into a cohesive whole. All of the five actors not only find strong personal space, but work together as a company of sexually obsessed characters.
“The Sexual Lives of Savages” runs through Dec. 14 at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage.
Have you seen the show? What did you think?