“The actor <…> becomes an emotional athlete. The process is painful – my personal life suffers.” – Al Pacino
“Bad Sex” is a black tragic-comedy that feels incredibly universal – mostly because a messed-up week like the one described in the play, could happen to any of us. Hopefully, it won’t though – as the series of ordinary yet unfortunate events is truly painful to watch.
Bad, worse… the worst week ever
The play is written and performead by Theo Hristov, who’s also the sole performer of this hour-long monologue. The story is loosely based on real events and portraits the worst week in a life of a London-based actor named Liam. A major event in his life breaks Liam’s already messy life and sends his career and mental health down a spiral. (no spoilers here, as I hope some of you will get to see the play!)
Swinging through the life’s timelines
Throughout the length of the play, Hristov jumps between various important points in Liam’s life, making the play a bit more complex. At the same time, we get to know Liam’s childhood and adulthood, which in my case let me care about his well-being a little bit more.
Look, let’s be real – this character is not a nice boy that you’d just want to come and hug. Hristov created a role of a drug and alcohol-using, self-centered young man who can’t even be bothered to take care of a dog (ok, this one truly hurt me). But he’s not there for you to like him. He’s an actor (which creates interesting inception, of an actor and in one moment, a play within a play) and all he wants is for you to hear the story and immerse in it.
Subtle music enhances the emotions pouring from the stage, and lights (and phone vibrations) help to locate a specific scene in either present or the past. It’s a simple yet effective way to pave the way for the audience to understand the timeline changes (which happen quite often).
“Bad Sex” the play: short and bitter
The play is a part of the “Bitesize Festival” which showcases short plays in the Riverside Studios. But this is why I felt a little bit disappointed – the story just felt a bit cut short for me. We are left with way too many questions about Liam’s character, and his future. This should be a full-sized play!
“Bad Sex” is like a shot of flavoured vodka. It will mess you up a little, and leave a bitter aftertaste, but its hidden umami flavour will get you asking for more. It won’t leave you in a bright mood after the lights are down – but it will make you reevaluate your own choices you’ve made as a young person.
*I attended a show on a PR Invite. All opinions are my own.
Written & Performed by: Theo Hristov
Director: Rebeka Dió
Sound Designer: Joe Browning
Lighting Designer: Arvid Zollinger
Stage Manager: Caitlin Hargreaves
Producer: Lasse Bohnsack
15-20 July 2022