‘Talking Sex On Sunday’ musical review
By Sonam Kaloti, Arts Editor
Talking Sex on Sunday is a fantastic musical about a group of women who have a girl’s night on the first Sunday of every month. These nights are always themed, and the theme of this party is sex toys. The other women attending are just as confused and thrilled as you may be—singing, “How did I get to this sex toy party? Crazy Margot!”
The musical stars Janet Gigliotti as Margot (the party host), Jennifer Lines as Olivia, Irene Karas Loeper as Sissy, Caitriona Murphy as Carol, Katrina Reynolds as June, Sara Vickruck as Frankie, and Seana-Lee Wood as Odessa. Talking Sex on Sunday’s books and lyrics are by Sara-Jeanne Hosie, the music is by Hosie and Nico Rhodes, the arrangement and orchestrations are by Rhodes, and the whole thing is directed by Donna Spencer.
The music is a highlight throughout the musical. The play itself starts off with the band alone. Quickly, the women begin to sing the opening song in unison and the atmosphere is light, fun, and extremely joyous.
The vocalists were mostly sopranos, but the harmonies in the higher registers still sounded beautiful. The material is challenging, so any pitch issues can understandably be brushed off. Credit goes to Reynolds for her performance during “Alter My View.” Her riffs were astounding, and the emotional impact was incredible.
The stage is made use of greatly—as are the stairs, and the rows of audience members. The set is incredibly comfy and cozy, displaying a homey and beautifully decorated living room and kitchen. The backdrop is built to look like multiple shelves holding household objects such as lamps and vases, and some shelves were covered with a sheer material so you could see the band playing behind the set—I found that to be a very nice design.
You’re thrown right into the sex-toy theme, and though it’s a little jarring, it becomes second nature quite quickly. Humour is instantly sprinkled throughout the opening and sets the perfect foundation for what the audience is in for during the next two hours. All male character voices are represented by piano notes: very wholesome humour. In fact, Ricardo, a male blow-up doll, received the most love and attention out of any “male” characters.
Disappointingly, the second part of the show wasn’t as impactful as the first, despite the poignant plot twists. It felt as though it dragged on, which may have been because the cast was losing energy or emotion. The emotion became more exaggerated, less human, and less relatable as the musical went on… which was a shame.
The cast as a whole is older than I expected for such a taboo musical, but honestly that is wonderful. Overall, it’s apparent that the plot intends to challenge traditional beliefs and targets to be diverse. The youngest character, Frankie, is a lesbian whose major storyline revolves around her desire to be accepted by her mother. The musical tackles everything from types of sex toys and how to use them all the way to failing marriages, body issues, religion, defining feminism, and morality. I highly recommend seeing Talking Sex on Sunday at the Vancouver Firehall Arts Centre at 280 East Cordova Street during its February 14 through March 8 run. Find tickets at the Firehall Arts Centre website; tickets are offered at $25 for those under the age of 30, and $30 for seniors and those with a valid student identification.