Two men in an attic play with power. ‘A’ (Jonny Woo) is the dom – a sex worker with an edge. ‘B’ (Alexis Gregory) – the sub, craves a real homophobic violent murder experience, based on real crimes.
Alexis Gregory’s darkly comic script touches upon the fine line between pain and pleasure. The use of unsettling, clipping language with a harsh poetic edge sticks in the mind, as ‘B’ idolises gruesome murder scenes that they recreate for thrills: ‘festering’, ‘stagnant’, ‘rotting’. It’s clear that this is a space where troubled men come to escape from their emotional turmoil by inflicting physical pain.
However, what should be an interesting angle on a topical subject fails to come through. Woo plays a strong, domineering character, taking control of the piece, but Gregory comes across as a melo-dramatic, camp stereotype. This dynamic proves distracting, making their connection (or lack thereof) not particularly believable. For this reason, some lines feel forced and fail to land.
Mike Robertson’s lighting design teamed with Rocco Venna’s sinister plastic sheeting set helps create the progressively eery vibe, which unfortunately isn’t mirrored in the acting. Woo has a few funny gags, at one point taking a break after six hours of torture to ‘make use of EU regulations while we still have them’ – met with knowing laughter. But, it’s not quite enough to save the piece.
Sex/Crime has the potential to hit some interesting points and achieve more laughs, but unfortunately the delivery fails to hit the mark.