My First Time is a comedy show that seeks to explore the absurdity, seriousness, and awkwardness of people’s first sexual experiences. Based off 60,000 anonymous confessions online, the play really manages to make you chuckle as you remember your own experiences (or lack thereof). Although not the strongest of productions, it was certainly an enjoyable way to spend an evening. Then again, reminding people of their first time may not be the best experience, so enter at your own risk.
First off, the show has to be commended for the cool concept – taking dialogue from the internet is a really cool idea and has a lot of potential for clever producers. The collation of suitable material that was neither too crude nor overly indulgent must have been a mighty journey of editing, and then having a variety of experiences from different walks of life (old, young, straight, gay, etc) made for interesting stories. The range from serious to silly, from the disgusting to the frankly delightful, also added to the colourful tapestry that made My First Time enjoyable.
There was also plenty of cringe stories for everyone to laugh and get awkward about – probably the stories that struck closest to home.
Secondly, when dealing with something like sex, there is a risk for plays to become overly vulgar for the sake of it. Thankfully – perhaps due to the cleverness of the collators and actors in delivering their lines – this problem was averted. It made watching a play dedicated to something as sensitive as virginal experiences well done, and the message of the play was a positive thing. And we could all do with more sex positivity in this bleak world we live in.
However, there were some weaknesses. Although each “section” moved fairly smoothly into the next, there were some sections that could have done with some improving. The improvised aspects, while good in theory, failed to get the audience reaction they deserved, and the play did feel a little bit aimless for a while.
Doing over-the-top accents only works if: all the actors really commit to it; they are capable of doing so (or not doing so in an amusing way); and it is sustained for most of the show. As the accents were only utilised a few times, they felt a little bit confused (and the male performers tended to utilise them more than their female counterparts).
The production was also less than smooth. The screen had interesting and thought-provoking statistics and stories, but there were times when the screen did not match the performance well, and the sound effects were oddly lacking. The lighting was effective – even if at times the screen became less-than-visible – and managed to lighten or darken the room depending on the mood of the section. Basically, the play felt as though it couldn’t quite make up its mind on whether to be truly absurd and silly, or a bit more serious.
To be fair to My First Time, although some stories were there for laughs, they handled much of the content with a fair amount of decorum and sensitivity. There were absurd stories (which were well played), and then the whiplash from the strange and funny to the downright uncomfortable was handled quite well – and the actors conveyed the different emotions well.
Overall, a cool concept that could have been a little more polished. It’s an interesting show with positive, funny moments, but overall felt a bit lacking.
My First Time plays at The Butterfly Club until Sunday 18 March 2018. Tickets start at $25 – for more information and to buy tickets, visit The Butterfly Club website.