The funny side of sexual perversity   1 Nov 2005


What: Sexual Perversity in Chicago by David Mamet.

Who: (potent pause) Productions.

When: October 25 to November 13. Tuesdays to Saturdays @ 7.45pm, Sundays @ 4pm.

Where: Greenwich Playhouse, London.

Cost: £10, concession £8

Reviewer: Ellie van Baaren

Warning, this play contains strong language, often of a sexual nature, that may offend some people. And with a script by David Mamet, I wouldn’t have expect anything else.

Raw, unashamedly provocative, yet unavoidably funny, Sexual Perversity in Chicago is the story of a brief but intense relationship between Danny (Will Birch) and Deborah (Emmy Happisburgh), in 1974 Chicago.

Don’t come expecting a complicated or involved plot, as with most of Mamet’s plays, the most striking, and important, things are the sharp lines and the characters uttering them.

I’m not sure whether I particularly liked any of the four characters, but they did command my attention. Especially Bernie (Michael Lawrence).

With a moustache you wish you could take a razor to and a confident swagger that belies "issues" from his childhood, Bernie is the kind of larger-than-life character who can tempt an actor to take it that little bit too far. But, although Lawrence emerged like a tidal wave in the first couple of scenes, he took it down a couple of notches after that, settling at a level that was more comfortably uncomfortable for the audience.

The play is well done in a very intimate space, and you really do feel that the show is going on just for you.

There are a lot of scenes, some of them very short, and I found it a little disjointed at times, almost like a series of vignettes rather than one continuous story. However, it didn’t annoy me enough to break my attention span.

It’s not overly long, a quite comfortable hour and 15 minutes, finishing without giving you time to get bored. But don’t expect an ending that ties up all the loose ends. The final scene comes suddenly without fanfare.

Although Danny and Deborah (Emmy Happisburgh) were perfectly likeable characters, I got the most enjoyment from each party’s best friends – Joan (Susannah Saary) and Bernie.

Like I said, I didn’t particularly like either of them, but they did make me laugh and had some of the best lines.

All in all, even though I knew very little about this play before I went, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Well acted and directed with a couple of absolute classic rock songs thrown in to get you in the mood. Just don’t expect the actors to watch their language.

Add a comment

Bookmark and Share


NZ Election 2017: Labour’s plan to unlock Canterbury’s potential

28 Aug 2017 News
Jacinda Ardern on August 28, 2017 Christchurch’s rebuild will be fast-... more

Updated plan to address Auckland’s growth

11 Aug 2017 News
11 August 2017 Transport Minister Simon Bridges has released a joint report by the Government and Auckland Council, which updates work... more


Rocket launch a huge step for New Zealand’s space industry

25 May 2017 Business News
25 May 2017 Minister for Economic Development Simon Bridges has congratulated the team at Rocket Lab on the successful launch of... more

Increased investor confidence welcomed

29 May 2017 Business News
29 May 2017 Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Jacqui Dean today welcomed the Financial Markets Authority annual survey results... more


London Cafes to Soothe Kiwi Homesickness

24 Nov 2017 London By Emma Creese
Exploring the world is a big draw for Kiwis to take an OE, but everyone moves their lives 18,000km from home not even thinking... more

New London venue and new look for New Zealand Annual Tasting

24 Nov 2017 Food & Wine
New Zealand Winegrowers will hold their Annual Trade Tasting in January at a new venue, and with it a new look and features for... more


New Zealand Housing Affordability Measure released

10 May 2017 Property
10 May 2017 The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) new Housing Affordability Measure will allow the market... more

NZ house prices gain 11% in October

14 Nov 2016 Property
Article - BusinessDesk Monday 14 November 2016 10:28 AM NZ house prices gain 11% in October, driven by sales of higher value homes By... more


Suspension of decision making authority

25 Apr 2017 Migration
24 April 2017Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse is taking steps to improve Immigration New Zealand’s decision making... more

Recognised Seasonal Employers employ more Kiwis

8 Feb 2017 Migration
7 Feb 2017 Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse welcomes a report showing the vast majority of employers who take on seasonal... more


NZ Election 2017: Tourism fund for infrastructure and conservation

28 Aug 2017 Travel & Tourism
Tourism fund for infrastructure and conservation Posted by Kris Faafoi on August 28, 2017 more

International visitors projected to spend $15 billion

12 May 2017 Travel & Tourism
12 May 2017 New Zealand’s tourism sector is forecast to grow significantly over the next seven years, with international... more


Last chance to see All Blacks v Barbarians - Twickenham, this Saturday 4 November

1 Nov 2017 Rugby
Expect some fireworks this Saturday at Twickenham for the Killik Cup when the Barbarians take on the Double... more

All Blacks v Barbarians at Twickenham, 4 November - under a month to go! £55 tickets!

17 Oct 2017 Rugby
The Barbarians will kick start the Autumn Internationals and take on the Double World Champions and... more


Gordon Campbell on the Gareth Morgan crusade

11 Nov 2016 Opinion
Column - Gordon Campbell   Gordon Campbell on the Gareth Morgan crusade First published on Werewolf more

Gordon Campbell on the US election outcome

10 Nov 2016 Opinion
Column - Gordon Campbell   Gordon Campbell on the US election outcome more

Kiwi Success

Law Commissioner appointed

29 May 2017 Appointments
29 May 2017 Former Secretary for Justice Belinda Clark has been appointed as Law Commissioner, Justice Minister Amy Adams announced... more

Spencer to be Acting Governor of Reserve Bank

8 Feb 2017 Appointments
7 Feb 2017 Finance Minister Steven Joyce will appoint current Deputy Reserve Bank Governor Grant Spencer as the Acting Governor of... more


Online job ads continue growing strongly

26 Jun 2017 Recruitment
23 June 2017 Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Paul Goldsmith says the latest Jobs Online report shows strong growth... more

New employment resource for young people

1 Mar 2017 Recruitment
28 Feb 2017 Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Paul Goldsmith and Associate Education Minister Louise Upston have... more