Salacious play examines the sexual awakening of an older couple
If you enjoy watching theatre that’s sexy, fresh and funny, then Kat Sandler’s Delicacy might have been just what you were after. The 90-minute one-act play was one of several in the 18th annual Wildside Theatre Festival. The show, presented by Theatre Brouhaha of Toronto, played at the Centaur Theatre until Jan. 17.
Delicacy takes place over one evening in a wealthy couple’s living room. The couple, Tanya and Mark, have invited another couple over who they just met a few weeks prior.
As the show begins, it’s immediately evident that Tanya and Mark take a lot of pride in their appearances and in their home. The condo setting is contemporary and simplistic. Almost every piece of furniture and décor is a bright, clean white. Large canvases splattered with modern art adorn the back wall of the set.
As Tanya and Mark are waiting for the other couple to arrive, Tanya, who is tall and slender, looks very reserved and formal. She circles the living room, fluffing pillows and cleaning specks of dirt off the furniture. Mark is more laid back and almost indifferent to the upcoming evening. He blunders his way through a typical “does this dress make me look fat?” discussion with Tanya, and the two consider calling off the engagement altogether when another woman lets herself into their condo.
Colby is a sudden burst of energy on stage, floating around and examining the condo, which is clearly a different world from the one she’s used to. Colby has a free, hippie-ish look to her. She is very open and says everything that comes to her mind. After a short while, her cool and stylish husband Len enters the scene.
It is slowly revealed that the two couples met each other at a swingers club, where they switched partners for the evening. Tanya and Mark then invited Colby and Len over for a second experience.
The first half of the show is fast, witty and sharp. Sexual puns, accidental racial remarks and generally awkward exchanges take place as the two couples’ lifestyles clash. Tanya is determined to host a mature and sophisticated evening, but despite her attempts, many things go awry.
Towards the end of the show, things dissolve quickly from fun and games into sharing intimate secrets, arguments, and bringing hidden emotions to the surface. Each character discovers something about their partner that they didn’t know before.
By the end of the play, things are left unresolved. The show unearths deep issues in the characters that one would never guess had existed, from looking at them in the beginning.
Sandler wrote and directed the show, and she did some great work with the characters’ movements across the stage. Despite being restricted to the confines of a single room, the scene never felt stale—someone was always moving.
The actors strung everything together with a phenomenal amount of energy, and a fantastic sense of timing and pace. Overall, Delicacy was a finely crafted piece of theatre that offered a fascinating look at the secret lives of married couples.