• Amy Toledano

Sex/Crime presented by Alexis Gregory & Emmerson and Ward

What Is It?

A dark comic queer thriller written by and starring Alexis Gregory, co-starring drag and cabaret legend Jonny Woo, and directed by Robert Chevara. Sex/Crime debuted in 2018, in a sell-out run at the iconic East London queer venue, The Glory, and has now transferred to the Soho Theatre.

What Is It About?

‘A’ specialises in giving clients the unique experience of recreating and eroticising their favourite murder by a famous gay serial killer. ‘A’ is a professional. ‘B’ is a punter, and a willing victim. When ‘A’ and ‘B’ meet, we see them blur and cross every boundary between and around them.

How Did It Make Me Feel?

You enter the world of the play from the moment you walk into the room. Loud pre-show music plays as you settle in: Blondie, Suede, Liza Minnelli, The Pet Shop Boys. Rocco Venna’s minimalist stage is set—a single red sofa is covered in plastic, as are the walls. The stage is hemmed in by LED light bars. The scene is set for something a bit cheeky and special. Right off the bat, it’s a party.

Gregory’s writing in Sex/Crime is sophisticated and nuanced. It works on multiple levels. The play is about: the nature of celebrity, capitalism, audience, spectacle and exploitation. The play is also about: fetish, queer identity, internalised homophobia, sexual violence, and taboo. But mostly, Sex/Crime is about power. It’s a lot to think about in sixty minutes—it’s a testament to Gregory’s skill as a writer that you don’t notice just how much until the lights come back on. You’ll probably want to see it again to pick up the little bits you might have missed. Which flirts with one of the play’s provocations: the audience is always complicit. Everything is transactional.

For all that Sex/Crime celebrates darkness, revels in it, flaunts it like a piece of couture—it is incredibly funny, and not just to the gallows set. There are some viciously relatable punch lines in there. The chemistry and the comic timing between the two co-stars is incredible. These are two performers at the top of their game. Woo’s commanding presence as ‘A’ lends to a strong physical performance, and the manic energy that Gregory gives ‘B’ keeps you on your toes. Robert Chevera’s direction—particularly with attention to movement and delivery—is heightened and surrealistic, out of the real world’s beats and rhythms, and we are compelled to keep up and hold on for dear life.

Anything Else?

For fans of the darkest humour and the gorgeously macabre. Every aspect of this production has been lovingly thought out, and it shows. Special mention must be made of Mike Robertson’s lighting design, which is clever and full of surprises.

There is a play text available, published by Oberon Books. And as Gregory raises in the notes: “Have you noticed how we never say ‘heterosexual serial killers’?”

Arden x

Sex/Crime is playing at the Soho Theatre until 1st February 2020.

If you like our reviews and want to support this blog feel free to buy any of us a virtual coffee here!