Review "Sex Marks The Spot": Sexual Politics Miss The Intrigue

New Lincoln Theatre Productions presents

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SEX MARKS THE SPOT

At Theatre Building Chicago, 1225 W. Belmont

Written by Charles Grippo

Directed by Damian Arnold

Thru July 25th

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Running Time:  Two hours and ten minutes includes a fifteen minute intermission

 

By Katy Walsh

 

Porn, politician and paparazzi:  a senator's personal life unravels right before his press conference.  New Lincoln Theatre Productions presents SEX MARKS THE SPOT, a comedy about sexual politics.   A senator is sanctimonious on family values.   His six month affair with a French porn star threatens to expose his two-faced ways.  His life gets more complicated with a cross-dresser and two women clad in their 'unmentionables' on the ledge of his hotel suite.  The senator and his loyal campaign manager drug potential whistle blowers and hide their bodies.  Cue the nosy reporter, buffoon security guard, and the senator's wife, SEX MARKS THE SPOT is a premise that might have shocked society... twenty, thirty, forty years ago.  For a cynical country disenchanted with civil servants, SEX MARKS THE SPOT is a well-worn map to a familiar treasure. 

 

Within the chest of bras and panties are gem performances by the energetic cast.  Leading the charge, Adam Schulmerich (Kotch) hits the spot with lively, sweat-covered, slapstick timing. His mild mannered character transforms to childlike virgin followed by raunchy sexpot.  Tony Fiorentino (Senator Clooney) oozes politician as he contemplates murder as the cover-up solution for a sex scandal.  Maggie Graham (Desiree) plays the long-leggy porn star with a confident strut.  'How do you say?' Slut with an attitude.  Quinn White is the buttoned-up marine with his own kinky style.  Kieran Welsh-Phillips (Smythe) is the suppressed press secretary complete with bulky sweater and glasses.  Big gulp, doughnut, cheeseburger, Rory Jobst (Detective) is the doofus in security.  Along with the smarmy reporter (Rob Grabowski) and the good wife (Lisa Herceg), the cast literally go out on the ledge, strip to their panties, and chase the joke to exhaustion.    They exploit whatever humor possible from their stereotyped characters.              

 

Playwright Charles Grippo has penned a farce with recognizable themes and characters.  The dialogue is often clichéd and sometimes, the joke goes on too long.  Although the pacing is off with excessive door slamming and awkward pauses, Director Damian Arnold stages some of the bits with perfect timing.  In particular, my favorite is an end sequence.  It is a well-orchestrated, 60's feel dance number with umbrellas and high kicks.  It's tight!  SEX MARKS THE SPOT is like having sex with the same partner.  The familiar moves can be charming.  Hot make-out sessions help build the heat.  I appreciate enthusiasm.  But sometimes, all the energy in world doesn't get the climax that I need for an afterglow.       

 

Ready to help me drug the whistleblowers and hide the bodies, Jasleen says the show is 'uneven farcical fun.'

 

WAITING FOR THE SHOW

What's a better aphrodisiac to a play about sex than a dinner of fondue?   We set the evening's mood by dining at Geja's Café, 340 W. Armitage.  Serving up the romance and friendship over boiling oil since 1965, Geja's is nestled away in a Lincoln Park locale.  The atmosphere is exotic Moroccan with drapings and dim lighting.  Intimacy is heightened by multiple smaller dining rooms containing private booths and nooks.  Our server is a friendly guide with wine suggestions and how-to-keep-your-scallop-on-the-skewer trade secrets.  There are a variety of options on the menu with an opportunity to 'go big' or go ala cart.  You can eat in duet or solo. When in Morocco... we order up the Prince Geja's Combination for two.  WOW!  The four courses satisfy all the major taste buds and food groups.  It starts with a Geja's cheese fondue of imported Gruyère blended with white wine, Kirsch cherry brandy, and spices.  It's placed on a stand above a lit flame.  It comes accompanied with wedges of apples, rye and white bread cubes and grapes.  Its creamy richness is decadent redefined.  A pairing of the perfect cheese and wine is my ultimate favorite meal.  A basic greens salad with a light vingarette is a nice compliment to the robust cheese course. 

 

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Next, the tray of the Prince's favorites arrive:  aged beef tenderloin, delicate lobster tail, jumbo shrimp, plump Atlantic sea scallops and tender boneless chicken breast.  Also on the tray are big chunks of vegetables and nine dipping sauces.  One of the sauces is the result of a Geja's customer contest.  The award winning cherry Merlot sauce tastes good on beef, scallop, or finger.  Jasleen is a fondue pro and has several skewers cooking at one time.  I'm a little less capable but the communal cooking is still fun.  Barbeque, horseradish, soy, the sauces go with whatever your sweet, sour, tangy mood is.  The bite size morsels are perfect to sample a lot of different tastes.

 

The finale arrives with a flourish.  A flaming chocolate fondue is served with marshmallows, pound cake and fruit.  Our server instructs us to toast our marshmallows before the orange liqueur flames disappear.  We do as we are told and the results are a classy s'more.   Our server suggests the house specialty after dinner coffee drink with Frangelico.  I refrain and opt for decaffeinated coffee with cream... whip cream.  Why would I drink coffee any other way?  The whole evening has been more of an experience than dinner.  I'd like to linger and try the special Frangelico drink but I have a sex play at 7:30.  Next time!           

 

Remembering an early relationship outing with her current husband, Jasleen says Geja's is a 'perfect third date.'

 

NOTE:  Geja's Café is celebrating its 45th Anniversary between June 27th and July 1st with 45% off the food bill.  There is no better incentive to indulge your fondue fantasies.   

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  • Ummm...gross. I'm eating.

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