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Last updated at 11:01 AM on 29/01/09  


Skin Flick a sweet little story of love, intimacy and porn

JON TATTRIE (CULTURE CORNER)
Halifax News Net

WHAT: Skin Flick
WHERE: Neptune Theatre
WHEN: Until Feb. 15
MORE: Check out Neptunetheatre.com for details, or call 429-7070.

Since everybody lost their money in the economic meltdown, investing what remains of your life savings into a high-quality, homemade pornographic movie seems less like something you would hear from a comedic playwright and more like something your sober-faced financial advisor might suggest.
Whether you turn up for ideas or laughs, Skin Flick delivers both. Neptune secured the world premier of Norm Foster's very funny new work; he presciently wrote the blue play 18 months ago, well before everything went red. David Nairn is great as Rollie Waters, the near-retirement costume worker who gets turfed when his company resizes. Martha Irving is solid as his wife, Daphne. She is also recently out of work, and the couple's bills are mounting. A mix up at the movie store has them watching an adult film with their next-door neighbour, a TV cameraman (Gordon Gammie) just fired for accidentally cupping the breast of a reporter live on air. When an out-of-work actress (Ginette Mohr) turns up on their doorstep, the opportunity is too good to waste.


Foster's writing is sharp and hilarious. He makes great use of Rollie's double role as narrator, having him stop the action throughout the play to explain things, or explain away his own behaviour. The language is salty at the start (they are making a porno), but sanitized with a funny trick. Pretty much every double entendre you could dream up about the, er, growth industry of the "cinema of the unclothed" takes a bow, but Daphne's dream of a dirty movie featuring "costumes, romance and nine-grain baguettes" wins out.


Skin Flick is about as much like a demeaning skin flick as Anne of Green Gables. It's a sweet little story of love, intimacy and respect. The backdrop----and backbone----of the whole play is Rollie and Daphne's endearing relationship. They've been married for 28 years, but Foster steers clear of the cheap, bickering laughs we usually get about long-term couples. Instead, they just love each other, and like each other, too! 
Jamie Williams bumbles into things as the accidental male lead. As he and Mohr put on their doctor-and-nurse outfits, they play with male and female stereotypes: he's sexually insecure while she's a ravenous vamp. Splayed over the back of the coach, teetering on the edge of a coffee table or romping in the master bedroom, the two bring the guffaws while gently examining our sexual fears.
Theatre laughs are almost always better than cinema laughs. I think it's the intimacy and the collaboration between the audience and the actors: you're in it together. So skip the mediocre fair at the cinema this week and treat yourself to Skin Flick.


jon@jontattrie.ca
Jon Tattrie is a freelance journalist in Halifax. After reviewing Skin Flick, he checked out the Everything To Do With Sex travelling road show at the Cunard Centre. Go to Payperhackwriter.blogspot.com to see how he fared in the dungeon.



 
Jamie Williams and Ginette Mohr in Norm Foster's Skin Flick at Neptune Theatre