Sex With Strangers is quite an eye-catching title, and nothing short of a little awkward when work colleagues or family members ask “oh what show are you seeing?”. However, thanks to exciting star casting and an intriguing description, I couldn’t help but go and check it out!
In all honesty, I don’t see a huge number of plays. There’s no real reason for this, as I love theatre, however I just personally find musical theatre a little more exciting and of the plays I have previously seen, as much as I’ve enjoyed them I’m yet to be really wowed. Though this play may have just headed to the top of my rankings…
Olivia (Emilia Fox) is an attractive and talented but under-appreciated mid-career writer. She has taken residence in a secluded B&B while a blizzard has hit, and it seems like the perfect setting for a writer’s retreat; but her night is quickly interrupted when equally attractive and wildly successful young blogger, Ethan (Theo James) turns up. It quickly turns into a case of opposites attract, in the most passionate way. But as their ideals change, can they really make it work?
The characters are exciting, you find yourself really immersed in their story, and audiences can relate to their characters; most notably because one is obsessed by tradition and the other is from the digital age which is a rather common theme that reflects reality.
Both Theo and Emilia give truly stunning performances, as their characters are complex and go through an interesting change of heart. They have a believable chemistry that appears to come naturally, and what the characters share is definitely passionate and intimate – though it is not staged in a distasteful manner, and is often used as a way to transition the scenes. They also need a notable mention for the fact they both sport their American accents well, and Emilia’s sounds the spit of Susan Sarandon which was pretty amazing in itself!
There are just two sets – one the secluded B&B, which looks almost like a period piece, styled like a years-old cabin in the woods; the other is a modernised American apartment. Both sets are filled with books, showcasing the characters genuine admiration for their line of work and are crammed with small details. I thought they were really stunning sets.
As for the costume, there are a few changes here, and you notice that their outfits change as their characters change. For example, when we first meet Olivia we see her as someone who appears slightly insecure as she’s in an oversized jumper and pyjama bottoms – but by the end of the play she’s filled with much more confidence in pretty skirts and dresses.
Overall, I found it to be a really enjoyable play. I had read some negative reviews, and felt slightly disheartened so I had lowered my expectations slightly. However I’m so pleased I was proven wrong.
I’ll admit it’s not perfect and probably won’t be for everyone, but both a combination of the story and cast/characters were what won me over. As a blogger myself (albeit only a small time one), I could really relate to many elements of what it’s like to be a writer. We put ourselves out there, yet we still fear negative response and simply just wish for people to like our work – and I’m sure that feeling relates to many other things too.
In total truth, I mainly brought my ticket for the fact Emilia Fox is in it, as it’s no secret she’s one of my favourite actresses – and I’m sure both sides of the casting have given the play a sold out run for that reason. While sometimes “star casting” gets given a bad rep, these truly are two very talented performers and it’s great to see this new piece of writing, about writers, given a chance. It’s funny, brave and passionate with a powerful ending that is left open for you to decide the outcome… ★★★★ Sex With Strangers runs at the Hampstead Theatre until the 4th March, the run is Sold Out but there may still be returns so keep checking www.hampsteadtheatre.com.
PS: I also had the pleasure of meeting Emilia Fox, and honestly she is the kindest and warmest person I’ve met. She really tries hard to see to everybody and take her time, unless there’s genuine reason why she can’t. I’m very grateful for her time and kindness! Check out my socials if you’d like to hear more about it. For now here’s one of our photos…
As always thanks for reading – let me know your thoughts and hope to see you again soon!
♥ MOLLY THE BLOGGER ♥