Spill: A Verbatim Show About Sex at the Pleasance, Edinburgh – ‘candid’
Verbatim theatre may have its limitations but by its very nature, it can be the most expressive, naturalistic form of drama. Bristol based Propolis Theatre are experimenting with the form and Spill is its verbatim piece about sex. Drawn from interviews with 32 diverse young people, Spill: A Verbatim Show About Sex explores experiences of sexual awakening and experiment. While there’s no obvious box ticking, practically all bases are covered and the structure of the piece allows for some amusing and sympathetic pieces of theatre.
The 11 strong cast spill their secrets as if at a party and, to heighten the text, some dialogue is fashioned into song with Hal Kelly’s mawkish DJ on the decks. While the atmosphere of the meandering narrative is generally light, including Jenny Davies’ candid revelations, it also touches on much darker issues. Girls frankly explain how their virginity was taken, a trans boy berates the lack of understanding from his gender therapist and even Davies’ otherwise confident character exhibits flashes of disillusion.
Through each performance, honesty is key and the work reveals a broad spectrum of attitudes to both sex and the opposite sex. The party framework enhances the surreal nature of the writing but the immediacy of the text is generated through slick, well rehearsed teamwork.