FRINGE REVIEW: EROTIC INTELLIGENCE FOR DUMMIES

Erotic Intelligence for Dummies is a one-woman performance by classically-trained actress and Gaulier School-trained clown, Irishwoman Helen Cassidy.

Cassidy has performed all across the world from the UK to NZ, and has now brought her latest show to Adelaide for the Fringe.

I made sure I was at the Cupola, one of The Garden’s smaller venues, ten minutes early and I was the third in line, and even lining up I was treated to a few minutes of Helen spruiking her show out the front, trying to draw a few extra punters in. Being third in line, this also guaranteed I’d be in the front row – a spot that may thrill some people and terrify others.

Helen’s show explores many forms of modern sexual and gender expression, some fantasies and freedoms, and the performer is not afraid to share some very intimate details of her own sexual past (you’ll never look at stuffed animals the same way again!). She is forthright, she is frank, and she’s extremely open about herself. The humour is completely unforced, with the audience responding with everything from chuckles to guffaws.

A few words of warning to anyone wanting to see this show: As with many one-person Fringe performances in intimate venues, audience participation is 99% guaranteed, no matter where you sit. And if you sit in the front row, your participation is pretty much 100% guaranteed, and you may even become a major part of the performance! Yes, this is what happened to me, dragged up on to stage after about 15 minutes, and I was the one that ended up being the major audience participant for her entire show! So my role as “Contestant Number One” on the night actually became quite pivotal to Cassidy’s performance, as she interacted with me on stage and used a variety of props, including balloons, a bed sheet, and some of her childhood stuffed animals! Being on stage didn’t stifle or stop my laughter, and the story of Helen’s sexual past and present reached a crescendo with a ‘multiple birth’ (I’m still not sure if the ‘kids’ were mine or not!!).

Obviously, if you are shy or conservative in your sexual attitude or morals, this show is not for you. But if you are comfortable in your identity and sexual expression, you will love this show! Helen Cassidy is open, funny and engaging, makes full use of the small venue, and knows how to interact perfectly with the audience. My experience was quite different to many others there that night, in that I ended up being a major participant on stage, but that doesn’t change my opinion of everything I saw and enjoyed that night.

Definitely worth seeing!

4 stars