15 49.0138 8.38624 none none 5000 1 fade http://www.smithsmagazine.co.uk 250 10

Goldsmiths' Official Student Magazine

The Fallacy of Gender Roles: Virgins Die Horny

November 3, 2014
On the look out for any explicit gendered differences in how two people, a boy and a girl, might see the same, highly sexed theatre production, [smiths] sent along Christina Deakin and Vlad Frolov to the opening night of Virgins Die Horny at The Courtyard Theatre in N1. See if you can guess whose is…

On the look out for any explicit gendered differences in how two people, a boy and a girl, might see the same, highly sexed theatre production, [smiths] sent along Christina Deakin and Vlad Frolov to the opening night of Virgins Die Horny at The Courtyard Theatre in N1. See if you can guess whose is whose.

DSC08142-HR-hug-facing-camera-e1410736763486

Review 1: ‘The Ugly Truth of Virgins Die Horny

London transportation is a nightmare, and bus 21 to Newington Green is a myth. It’s a miracle I made it in time for the opening of Virgins Die Horny, and thank goodness I did! Not only would it have been extremely awkward to interrupt and shuffle about in the small and intimate theatre, but the first few minutes were really the only ‘beautiful’ moments of the play. Distant sweet love songs rolled on, as we watched the dim warm-lit stage come to life.

Katie’s dress is draped over the bed in the honeymoon suite, bottles of champagne decorate the room, and the newly-wed couple can’t refrain from flirtation – lovely. It’s the first line, however, that fractures the scene. Katie gets out of bed, takes a puff from her cigarette and mutters to James, her third husband, “I hate being married again.” Katie had father issues, caught her abusive first husband, Jamie, with a prostitute, and her second husband, Jimmy, left her. She worries she is ugly, unlovable, and is defined by the men in her life who seem to just stop caring for her. Is the love she feels with James now real?

The play is a bundle of chaos with a sprinkle of humour, and before long we realise that all three of Katie’s husbands are in the suite together; one even wired with dynamite. Ready or not they reveal a hideous and hurtful secret that reflects the fallacy of gender roles and hyper-masculine behaviour. All three men want to save Katie. They think they know what’s best for her, but in fact they need to smarten up. Katie, despite being the delicate and fragile bird on this presumed patriarchal stage, very much dominates the show. However, it is the truth of that secret in the end that crushes all four characters underneath its thumb.

Although I found the play to be ‘ugly’, in a way, I certainly did not find it unlovable. I found myself enraptured by the imperfections, heart ache, fear, and bravery; I even fell in love with the blunt truth of it. The title, Virgins Die Horny, alludes to a more poetic and complex idea of ‘YOLO’ and selfishness, a lesson that is central to the play, but the exposed truth and fault in gender politics was more compelling to me. The play, like Katie, was true, bold, and powerful; ‘ugly’ but not unlovable.

Review 2: ‘Virgin’s Die Horny’

Is it experience that you choose over safety? Having loved and lost over not having loved at all? These are the questions asked of the audience by Sal Cesare, the playwright of Virgins Die Horny.

The play takes place in a hotel room where Katie and James are on their honeymoon. Katie, a femme fatale, is 38 and James, twelve years her junior, is her third husband in ten years. Clearly, Katie is doubtful whether this marriage will work – something her and James spend some time arguing about in the first half an hour of the play, drunk and wired. This is when Katie’s second ex-husband, Jimmy, decides to pay the two a visit, armed with dynamite and threatening to kill them all. Katie’s first husband Jamie then joins the party, invited by Jimmy.

Jamie appears to be a world-wise man, hyper-masculine down to his cowboy boots, and absurdly so. He delivers a speech to the suicidal Jimmy with the ethos of an old-school gangster: “Virgins die horny, Jimmy. […] Do you want to die wanting, wondering, horny?” Is it better to be safe and alone than to experience life, love and be hurt?

The play is very long, possibly too long – its first act alone is 90 minutes – and although the actors, particularly Neil Hobbs who plays Jamie, did a great job, the play’s duration is unjustified, especially since it asks more questions than it seems to answer. As a character-driven play, it’s interesting and well-done, but having been promised a play that’s “terrifying” and “edgy”, its suspense is a bit too put-on to be involving, and the only really edgy thing about it is the graffiti font used in the programme and perhaps that the characters are doing coke. For the fairly simple question it asks, it gets a bit too overcomplicated, particularly towards its end, when, exhausted, you sit in the audience begging for the trigger to be pulled to end the play.

Overall, Virgins Die Horny is excellent as a character-driven play, entertaining and very well acted, but for the fairly simple question that it asks, it is unnecessarily long and overcomplicated.

 

NOTE: [smiths] has heard through the grapevine that Sal Cesare, the playwright, has reduced the length of the play by 45 minutes since the opening night performance reviewed by this publication. As deftly suggested in our review, Mr Cesare reports that the play is much better as a result of this adjustment. We would like to applaud him for this creative flexibility and feel that it bears mentioning as part of this review.  

 

Photography courtesy of The Courtyard Theatre.