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Fringe Report is now closed. Fringe Report closed on its 10th anniversary, Thursday 12 July 2012. It remains online as a record of 10 exciting years in the arts. Till July 2013, previously unwritten content is being added to the site from the past 10 years, but we are no longer reviewing new material. You can still write to us on the existing email addresses. Good luck with your shows.I Kissed a Frog and it Gave me Herpes
Verdict: Account of sexual experiences
I Kissed a Frog and it Gave me Herpes is 30 minutes of high-energy and enthusiastic performance relating the sexual history of a woman from schooldays to mid-20s. It is performed by the show's writer Anna Victoria as the woman, and Ronan Summers as narrator and participant. The format is mainly story-telling, often in verse. Joseph Grant is on stage with the two actors with a guitar, which he sometimes plucks. It's not clear for most of the production what he is doing on the stage, but he does it elegantly and contributes to the production probably in the way that a Greek chorus did, though without the speaking part.
The verse is quite like William McGonagall's doggerel style, but the content is a lot dirtier. The narrative includes the woman's first sex at school, moving on to sex with work colleagues, and many more. It's quite ordinary sex, probably only too familiar to anyone who has had sex (perhaps most of the people who may see the show) but not sex in its finest hour (or minutes). What it isn't is the sublime, the loving, the intense, passionate and transforming. What it is is maybe what Chaucer's Canterbury Tales felt like the first time they were told, by rough and up-for-it women and men passing the time of a dull pilgrimage hike by telling each other in plain Anglo-Saxon about how they'd done fucking. A kind of vaginal and penile workshop manual, heavily stained.
The actors put a lot of effort into the delivery, and their engaging presence certainly gives a plus to the production. Unfortunately the script is generally monochrome, one-dimensional - like a shopping list. It comes across more as a list of incidents, rather than as a piece of theatre - whether drama or comedy drama; nor does it have the building interest crucial for a comedy monologue. For a piece like this - 30 minutes of talk without much action - the talk has to sparkle, and generally it doesn't. But there is one scene, in a Soho basement with a gangster who has a different identity underground, which stands out. It's a fragment with presence and insight - almost inviting its own play. And a sex-from-the-rear-while-eating-kebab scene is certainly graphic.
Cast Credits: (alpha order): Ronan Summers - Man. Anna Victoria - Woman. Joseph Grant - Guitarist.
Company Credits: Writer - Anna Victoria. Director - uncredited. Technical Operator - uncredited. Producer - uncredited. Company - Chesterlass Productions in association with Otherplace Productions. Website - http://www.myspace.com/chesterlass
reviewed Wednesday 12 March 08 / Upstairs At Three And Ten
Fringe Report (c) Fringe Report 2002-2013