The Wrong Sex (third review)

Playwright: Sonja Mills
Cast: Sonny Mills, with special non-appearance by Elley-Ray Hennessy

Review by: Beverly Horton

My compressed review of the play? Loved it! Two twirls and a rewind.

In the play, ambiguously-sexed Sonny describes the intersection of sex and gender as a matter of “Who does the doing.” Mercifully, the play doesn’t get tangled in the nearly-endless chain of signifiers too often used to name the “who” and “the doing.”

Clad in an ill-fitting suit and neck tie, playwright Sonja Mills/cast member Sonny Mills takes the stage and creates the play’s second cast member from an upturned push broom, mop head, Jackie O sunglasses, and large-cupped bra. (Aside: Sonny is barefoot. Katie Lang shout-out perhaps?).

The central action of the play is a couple’s therapy session. The audience plays the part of the therapist. Despite uncertainty about whether or not s/he and Anna are “in this together,” Sonny expresses their desire to be “a normal couple in society” able to “fit in the fat part of the bell curve” of coupledom.

(I may be suffering a hangover from my review of another Fringe play; I’m now channeling the Goldilocks fairytale. This may work though). None of the gender identities Sonny and Anna assume, none of the identity-tied “beds” they try are “just right.”  Whether gay, lesbian, or transgendered in a Portuguese/Italian, “gay town” or Bartonville neighbourhood, all gender-based identities and neighbourhoods are too big or too small, too hard or too soft.

Throughout the play, Sonny peppers descriptions of gender-based communities with observations I found absolutely hysterical. The description of consensus-based decision-making in the “underground society of women” made me laugh so hard.

The only disappointing element of the play was the (re)presentation of Anna.  Anna speaks very little in the play and when she does speak, it is with an odd, British accent. An entirely silent Anna might allow for an academically-flavoured but comedically-charged interrogation of silence and gendered agency at the end of the play. I’m just sayin’.

Note: I met Sonja Mills after the show and discovered that she is a “very close friend” of a friend of mine. In no way does my enthusiastic review of The Wrong Sex reflect the latter discovery. Again, I’m just sayin’.

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