We are whisked off our feet by Goddard’s laconic enthusiasm as she prances around the small stage, recalling people and places she visited while in the city of light. At least, we are until her naïve persona becomes rather trying, the constant narration in third person morphing from engaging and almost endearing to contrived and tedious. It is a shame for Goddard, who carries the piece with sound comedic timing and a genuine connection to the coming-of-age plot, that dramaturge Bryan Davidson Blue did not rein in the sentimentality of the piece. Goddard has a disarming yet charming presence and it would have been better served with greater exploration of the fleeting darker threads and characters.
Nevertheless, the audience at this opening night could not get enough of Goddard as she threw berets into the crowd to make it ‘more French’, and particularly as she selected a young man to play her Parisian lover, Pierre, on stage. Goddard fed well off his reluctance to participate, so that by the end of this stint he too seemed won over by Goddard’s witty one-liners and eager smiling face.
The script offered Goddard many opportunities to reflect on the unexpected realities of life, and on the disappointment when youthful expectations suddenly deflate. Love is central to the work, as one may infer from the title, but refreshingly so. Although occasionally falling into the trap of cliché, Don’t Have Sex in Paris largely rejects conventional portrayals of romance in Paris by focussing on Emily’s very human stumbles in her search for love. Despite some vocal weakness in the interwoven songs, with Goddard sometimes struggling in the upper register, Don’t Have Sex in Paris is nuanced, entertaining and humorous enough to enchant even the most critical of audiences.
Emily Goddard in
Don’t Have Sex In Paris
Venue: The Butterfly Club | 204 Bank Street, South Melbourne
Dates: Thur 22 to Sun 25 Nov
Times: 7pm Thur – Sat / 6pm Sun
Tickets: $20 full / $15 con & groups of 8+
Duration: one hour approx