What straight woman doesn't want to learn a few handy tricks to make her man happy in bed? And what better person to teach her what a man wants than a sassy gay man! How much you'll actually learn at Sex Tips for Straight Women From a Gay Man is questionable, but you won't go to this hysterically titillating show for an education. You'll go because you want to laugh your @ss off.
Directed by Tim Drucker and now playing at the 777 Theatre, Matt Murphy's Sex Tips offers little in the way of plot, being oh-so-loosely based on Dan Anderson and Maggie Berman's popular sex manual of the same name. Lindsay Nicole Chambers plays Robyn, a straight-laced, sexually repressed university student and new host of a book forum called Rendezvous with Alternative Authors of the Modern Era (RAAME, pronounced "ram me"). We see two interview chairs and a stand with a book on it as Robyn enters nervously (it's her first time hosting) and tells us that the book up for discussion is Sex Tips for Straight Women From a Gay Man, but she's not sure how to go about discussing this kind of material. Then blissfully gay coauthor Dan (Jason Michael Snow) comes in to help Robyn out. He thinks that the best way to talk about his book is not to read and analyze it academically, as Robyn wants to do, but to enact his sex tips onstage — with the help of the forum's audience.
And so begins an uproariously funny series of interactive demonstrations of saucy, sexual advice. Audience members chosen by Dan join the cast onstage to help illustrate a range of amorous situations, from relatively tame tips, such as how to flirt effectively at a bar, to meatier morsels, such as how to manually arouse a man in four easy steps (for which, see the subhead of this review; all audience members are encouraged to practice this technique by means of a rolled theater program, and Dan patrols the aisle with a video camera to make sure everyone is trying). Assisting Robyn and the audience is handsome and hunky Stefan (Andrew Brewer), a shy, reserved "scientist" who finds himself reluctantly unclothed at various times throughout the show as he gradually learns to embrace his inner stripper. He's the scrumptious eye candy that frequently draws your attention away from the matters at hand.
Be aware that if you sit in the front rows designated as The Wet Zone, you may be among those chosen to participate onstage, though you'll find yourself soaked by nothing other than waves of good-natured laughter from fellow audience members.
Between the laughs, there is a thin story line running almost unnoticed amid the sexy shenanigans. Aided by the magic of Dan's gay wisdom, Robyn transforms from an inhibited, timid schoolmarm into a liberated, sexually adventurous woman. The show is at its best, though, when it doesn't try to be too scripted. At one point, Dan's character enters in drag as an older woman named Pearl Necklace, and it's here that the laughter begins to wane. But fortunately, lulls like that are brief. Once a new batch of audience members gets hauled onstage for the next tip, the hilarity resumes. And then of course there's the strapping Stefan, whose clothes — all but a G-string — eventually come off as the play reaches its climax (no real plot spoiler there), accompanied by the audience's raucous cheers.
Gay men and straight women aren't the only ones who'll get a kick out of Sex Tips. My female theater companion vowed to return with her husband, and judging from the audience on the night that she and I attended, he would be in good company with all of the other husbands and boyfriends in tow. The audience's exuberance, good humor, and open-mindedness, together with the actors' unflagging energy, make for a breathlessly entertaining evening. Even if you don't take any of its erogenous advice, Sex Tips is one of the best date-night shows you'll see this year.