The cast of this blast from the pastPhoto/ Santiago Olusanya

Second-wave feminism, David Bowie, the sexual revolution. 1972 was a time of change, not least for Penny, Martin, Anna, Tessa, Cristine and Anton, who are all about to awkwardly fumble their way through their first sexual encounters. Girton Amateur Dramatics Society’s production of The Warehouse Company’s 1972: The Future of Sex brims with charm, enthusiasm and an energy that is infectious. 

The main characters in 1972: The Future of Sex are struggling for sexual liberation:  In attempting to deal with such a wide scope of experiences in the show’s relatively short run time (just under an hour), some character arcs are left feeling truncated or underdeveloped. The choice to stage this production in the round meant that certain scenes lacked clarity. In one particular sequence, where the characters are going home to have sex, I struggled to understand what was occurring on stage. With multiple characters moving at once it was difficult to make out individual actions. This being said, although the choice of staging did occasionally obfuscate the action on stage, it was an integral part of the atmosphere director Will Want was aiming for and achieved. Sitting around the stage on the floor of Girton College’s Old Hall, dimly lit, I felt as though I had been invited into something private. The staging made the performance feel intimate and personal. It brought the performers amongst the audience and allowed us to be part of their narrative.

"The staging made the performance feel intimate and personal"

What held the show back at points was a lack of chemistry within the cast. All the performers successfully expressed their individual motivations and characters, but their attraction to each other didn’t come across on stage.The stand out from the cast was Lauren Court who played Penny, the passionate feminist campaigning to be president of the Student Union. She provided the most compelling performance of the evening adding nuance to her relationship with Martin, her tutor, played by Ayushman Mukherjee, through her transition between infatuation and disillusionment.  

The choice to light the stage exclusively with desk lamps held by the actors, whilst presumably a product of necessity, was both dynamic and thematically consistent. The narrative of the play is about young people taking control of their sexuality and the choice to have them control their own lighting fit beautifully within that.

"something that will make you laugh and think"

The subtle yet powerful musical accompaniment by Guitarist Jot Soni was one of the highlights of the production. The score, inspired by David Bowie’s 1972 album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, was able to both set the tone of the era and provide a rhythm that kept the show well-paced. The choice of only one guitarist emphasised the intimacy of the production. The technical and sound design overall was impressive, simplicity was the key to its success, with the use of auditory and visual motifs to symbolise either changing locations or, in the case of the ‘intimacy light’, to signal that characters where about to have sex. 


Mountain View

A modest defence of pretentious theatre

1972: The Future of Sex is not perfect. It is occasionally confusing and doesn’t deliver on the chemistry that the script promises. But it is warm, funny, and brimming with creativity and passion. If you want to see something different and interesting, something that will make you laugh and think a little bit, then there are few things better to than head to Girton and watch 1972: The Future of Sex

1972: The Future of Sex is playing again at the Girton College Old Hall at 21.00 on Saturday 5th March.