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Sex Ed: The Musical!
Published on Wednesday, 15 August 2012
3

3 stars

theSpace @ Surgeons Hall (venue website)
Comedy
3-4, 6-11, 13-18, 20-25 Aug, 6:30pm-7:45pm
Reviewed by Lee Zhao

 Recommended for age 14+ only.
 Free and unticketed. No pre-booking required.

One of the things I have learned from my years on the Fringe is not to shy away from musicals on ridiculous subjects, and in my opinion Sex Ed: The Musical! definitely qualifies as ridiculous (at least as a title). The pitch is straightforward. Take all those topics covered in such classes – puberty, contraception, diseases, relationships – put them in rhyming metre, and set them to music.

Judged solely by the music, this musical is very good. The tunes are catchy and the score is well-crafted, especially the fugal ending. There are also some mature vocals on show, but a special mention must go to Tom Quinn who more than delivered with the sole male vocal part.

The book and lyrics, however, are far more puerile. Songs include an alphabetical list of euphemisms for masturbation, a list of sexual positions (which the actors physically demonstrate, naturally) and a list of common fetishes. Not exactly sophisticated. And even with this anything-goes attitude, the sex-based jokes are somewhat predictable. I could have easily played a game of ‘offensive innuendo bingo’: for example, the obvious sexual pun on 'pianist' was deployed twice.

When crafting a show full of crude humour, a writer can go two ways. He or she can give the characters depth, build the semblance of an engaging story and slowly reveal a mature centre. Sex Ed: The Musical! decides to take the other option: refuge in audacity. Descend into the trench of filth so outrageously that the audience has no option but to recalibrate their threshold of bad taste and go along with the ride. And, slightly to my shame, that is what happened to me.
 
Sex Ed: The Musical! is not seeking to be anything more than your first impression from seeing the title suggests. In some ways, that is refreshingly honest; unlike a box of chocolates, you know exactly what you are going to get. A skeletal plot, a cast of caricatures, but a gushing torrent of immature gags of the level of the American Pie franchise. This is certainly not a show I would recommend to my grandparents. I found it hilarious; they probably would not. Or at least I hope not.

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