By Joana Simmons
Balloons, belly laughs and beanie babies. These are just a few of the wonderful treats in store for you, as well as the challenging yet uplifting lessons in Melbourne Fringe Festival’s Erotic Intelligence for Dummies. This superb one-woman show by award-winning actress and clown Helen Cassidy teaches us about passion, in all senses of the word. Prudes beware, it flirtatiously tickles our boundaries and the complexities of intimate relationships whilst educating and loving us all on love for all.
The underground bar-come-theatre at the Arts House has a buzzy Friday-night-first-week-of-Fringe feel and Cassidy is roving the crowd making us feel comfortable. The TeD Talk sound effect opens the show, and dressed as a sexy librarian Cassidy lets the ideas flow. Small in stature but large in charisma, Cassidy is a strong all-round performer and has the audience on her side minutes in. She employs a range of talents and conventions to take us on a ‘sexual safari’, seeing how our fellows in the animal kingdom do it. There’s one epically memorable moment amongst this – one not to try at home – that Cassidy pulls off with jaw-dropping skill and hilarious follow-through.
The structure and pace of the show is slick. Cassidy glides from character to character, costume to costume, cleverly using the other balloons set behind her and the pile of stuffed toys in the centre of the stage. She uses witty language to cover what could be smutty content – serving it up like a nice little note and phone number left on your pillow the morning after the night before. There’s this wonderful maturity to her performance that is classy, sexy, and daring. By the end we are clapping along, all in one giant group of the same theatrical experience. For me, this is what live theatre is about: getting to share a unique experience for one hour with a group of strangers under an old building in North Melbourne. Absolute cudos to Helen Cassidy for bringing this wonderful experience out – creating the space and the light for (erotic) expression.
Erotic Intelligence for Dummies pokes us in all the right places. It sensually whispers in our ear something which could make one blush but also could make for a wonderful world. It gets your heart racing and juices flowing. Go with your squeezes, go with your pals, go alone and come out with company.
Erotic Intelligence for Dummies
Fringe Hub @ Arts House Underground,
521 Queensberry St., North Melbourne
15 – 22 Sept (Excl. Mon) | 7:45 PM (Sun 6:45 PM)