Often I Find That I Am NakedWhere are you at in your dating life? Trawling through nightclubs, or settled down with Mr/Mrs Good Enough? Unless you’ve had the luck of finding ‘The One’ on your first date, then we’ve all had those cringe-worthy ‘what was I thinking’ moments.

Often I Find That I Am Naked takes the black comedy route into the territory of the dating scene: where every single man and woman out there seem to be lecherous, needy, incompetent, and/or boring.

The rite of passage that is dating is perfect fodder for entertainment: think of any career-woman rom-com usually starring 20-somethings (and these days, 30-40-50 somethings). Lead character Jezebel (Jo Thomas) takes the audience on a journey through various dating methods: dinner parties, bars, websites, Facebook, speed dating and chit-chats with her male childhood friend.

In her 30s with a thriving business, financial independence and fabulous wardrobe, Jezebel is living a hedonist’s dream of alcohol, and lots of sex. What the self-confessed lonely lady thinks she’s missing is a special man in her life, so she goes out and out to lure a man—any man— with her sexuality, following the equation of sex =love, love=sex. The question is not so much whether she will find true love, but will she love herself.

Bailing her out of her relationship meltdowns—and jail— is Jezebel’s childhood friend who she can be herself around and vice versa as they tell stories of their dating woes.

The unnamed friend was but one of what must have been at least 20 different characters played by versatile actor Sam Clark. By deftly altering his stance and voice, and slightly adjusting his static wardrobe, Clark plays a dropout dole bludger through to a married high powered businessman scheduling an affair.

Yes, the characters are clichés, but clichés are so because they happen so much—we may as well laugh about them. Often I Find That I Am Naked is not about whinging and whining about “where are all the good men” and it’s not “men are bastards” either. Males in the audience will be safe and entertained!

The play’s pace is snappy and time flies, a sure sign of a well-written piece by playwright Fiona Sprott. The dynamic is pepped up even further by the on stage semi-acting part of the musician James Dobinson who plays a kind of overseer of proceedings. The music was perfect with snippets of covers from George Michael to The Pixies and The Killers. Dobinson’s musical talent with the keyboard and percussion provides a soundtrack of backing music to place you in the moment— from thumping nightclubs to a plane and the hilarious dog scene.

Scene changes are clever and energetic. With a click of her fingers Jezebel moves on to the next man, changing dresses, shoes and ‘washin’ that man right outta her hair’.

The chemistry between Jezebel and her Mr Right was electric (if I can mix up my sciences there!), sparking suspense and connection, as I wanted to shake Jezebel into some sense: JUST KISS HIM you fool!

Often I Find That I Am Naked brings a refreshing take on the single gal looking for Mr Right scenario. The characters are endearing, the jokes are funny and the music catchy. The overall tone is one of optimistic adventure with a dark side of alcoholism and sex-as-emotional connection dependence —of bright cocktails and high heels, not bumming around in pyjamas drinking red wine like Bridget Jones. Take your friends whatever stage they’re at in their dating career; there are laughs to be had and lessons to be learned.

The Street Presents A Critical Stages and Jo&Co Production
Often I Find That I Am Naked
by Fiona Sprott

Director Shane Anthony

Venue: Street 1
Dates/Time: 8:30pm,  9 – 10 September, 2011
Duration: 70 mins, no interval
Tickets: $30.00 – $22.00
Bookings: (02) 62471223 | www.thestreet.org.au

WARNING: This production contains adult themes, strong coarse language and partial nudity. Suitable for audiences over 18 years of age.

Originally co-produced by Jo Thomas & Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts

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