"In The Next Room or the vibrator play" (Victory Gardens): Charmingly Orgasmic!

"In The Next Room or the vibrator play" (Victory Gardens):  Charmingly Orgasmic!

 

My friend Taya is provocative.  She typically mentions masturbation in the first ten minutes of any discourse.  Her voluptuous presence fills the room with a Mae West meets Samantha Jones prowess.  Her explicit flirtations can’t be mistaken.  Introducing her to your boyfriend is like waving a steak in front of a cougar.  Although I’ve always admired her playful sexual freedom, I know at a different time in history she would have been burned at the stake.  

Victory Gardens presents the Chicago premiere of IN THE NEXT ROOM or the vibrator play.  In the late 1800‘s, the invention of electricity is changing the world.  People are no longer in the dark... except about sex.  The Victorian era is badly in need of a good paroxysm.  Dr. Givings specializes in them.  His patients are afflicted with pent-up hysteria.  They come in his office for release.  The results transform.  On the other side of the door, Mrs. Givings remains untreated.  She wants it... bad!  Her husband refuses to do her.  So, Mrs. Givings tries to unlock the mystery below on her own.  IN THE NEXT ROOM or the vibrator play’s charm is orgasmic.

Playwright Sarah Ruhl was nominated for a Tony Award for this play.  It’s easy to see why.  ‘The Vibrator Play’ is a crowd pleaser.  The old-fashion lust story is the perfect romantic comedy.  It’s sexy without being slutty.  The dialogue crackles with innuendo.  Under the direction of Sandy Shinner, this cast seduces the audience.  The effect is pure pleasure.  In the leads, Mark L. Montgomery and Kate Fry (Dr. and Mrs. Givings) are magnificent as an-opposites-attract couple.  Montgomery is textbook non-emotional.  He hilariously speaks clinically to his patients and his wife.  Fry is a lively, spirited adventurer.  Fry delightfully stumbles into intimacy and zestfully goes after it.  The entire talented ensemble provides strong support to get what they need.  In particular, Polly Noonan (Mrs. Daldry) is hysterical. Noonan transforms from manic to serene with a flip of a switch.  Administering Noonan’s remedy, a stoic Patricia Kane (Annie) delivers a laugh with every line. 

Costume Designer Jacqueline Firkins adds to the humor with authentic Victorian costumes.  They look exquisite.  For any procedure, a cast member strips off layers of material.  It’s easy to imagine how exhausting being prudish was for that era.  The visuals stun.  The dressing ritual reinforces the barrier to actual human contact.  A frustrated Montgomery utters, ‘you don’t have to take all your clothes off.’  It seems like a probable mantra for that time period.

Opening night had technical difficulties when the sound system went down at the end of the first act and came back up during the second act.  In addition, an idiot's obnoxious cell phone spoiled an intimate encounter. Technology isn’t always a good thing.  Aside from those issues, still listen to the buzz!  IN THE NEXT ROOM or the vibrator play climaxes into a lovely afterglow... you'll want to be in the room to experience it. 

A naturally stimulating man, Roger describes it with 'smart, funny, concise.'

Running Time:  Two hours and thirty minutes includes an intermission

At Victory Gardens Biograph Theatre, 2433 N. Lincoln

Written by Sarah Ruhl

Directed by Sandy Shinner

Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays at 7:30

Wednesdays at 2pm and 7:30pm

Saturdays at 4pm and 7:30pm

Sundays at 3pm

Thru October 9th 

Buy Tickets

Production photography by Liz Lauren.

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