Sticky at the Southwark Playhouse
Conversations around sexual conduct are always in vogue. This rings true of Sticky, the new drama by actress and writer Charlotte Josephine, who succeeds in truly exploring the details of young people’s worries and thoughts on sexual matters, ideas which we can all relate to.
The play uses the theme of stickiness, whether it’s teenager Jay obsessed with watching television and remaining stuck on an idea, or their quips about sexual fluids which present realistic snapshots. Strips of dirty opaque curtain block Jay (Clay Russell) from the audience, his back turned, intently watching an out-dated sex education video, when Hollie (Hannah Martin) calls out to him. His fixation is unexplained, though what can be interpreted from the piece is the way in which young people have access to all kinds of media – including pornography – right in their pockets, and how that can become an addiction.
An aerobic exercise session sees the female cast stretching in very suggestive ways whilst discussing their experiences – whether it’s men taking a “no as a yes,” or their disbelief when it comes to whether or not a woman has had intercourse yet – while the males do a great job in acting out middle-aged men playing golf, engaging in locker-room talk. Humour comes in the form of television show Lick Me Out! Explicit in nature, it is hosted by Mike Hunt (played flamboyantly by Sam Johnson) with lewd segments; clearly Josephine does not shy away from sex. In another scene, as Johnson and co-actor Sybil Clarke watch The Lion King, he divulges bizarre theories and opinions on the animated family, exclaiming, “I would so f**k Simba.”
Josef Pitura-Riley’s sound design sets the scenes, whether it’s a club sequence with Jon Hopkins’ Immunity thumping hard, or a delicate act where one character is contemplating the sexually transmitted disease she caught, with Alice Smith’s haunting rendition of Nina Simone’s I Put A Spell on You playing in the background.
Sticky makes you reflect, empathising with young people and the confusion many of them feel. Josephine’s writing is both poignant and visceral, and the cast act confidently, allowing viewers to become fully engrossed, confronting taboo subjects that deserve to be brought to light.
Photo: Helen Murray
Design by Ryan Dawson Laight and lighting design by Zoe Spurr
Sticky is at the Southwark Playhouse from 22nd June until 14th July 2018. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.