Immersive, educational, political, Jack Nurse and Robbie Gordon’s The Coolidge Effect combines various ingredients into the performance, getting teenagers and twenty-somethings to think about sex and pornography. Using engaging dialogue, interaction and scientific methods, they’ve created an impactful and visceral piece of work which will hopefully open up the conversation about various aspects to porn such as exploiting, addicting and reclusive sides to it.
You are probably wondering what The Coolidge Effect is? It’s specifically an open and direct dialogue about sex and technology with no fluff, taboo, silence or stigmatisation. Fusing storytelling, poetry (or MCing) and science it investigates how porn affects mental health, relationships and experiences, and effectively so, as Robbie alternates between child, George and his dad, the “adult”, Gary. Using dialogue that makes it accessible yet informative, Wonder Fools have been taking this show on the road, receiving a Special Commendation as part The Suitcase Prize 2017 at the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich.
Using a handful of props which he asks the audience hold and interact with over the course of the hour, Robbie Gordon has created something very minimalist but thematically wide in its discussion. And not only have they created something accessible and innovative, it has come from extensive research, adding that educational factor. The piece is devised from interviews with porn advocates, addicts, mental health experts and scientists, whose inimitable stories and viewpoints are told through four intertwining narratives.
I have already mentioned George, the Gameboy addict teenager and Gary, a father lost in the depths of his own addiction. The other two that come into this performance are ground-breaking porn producer Gail and ex-porn addict, Retrospect. Through various eyes The Coolidge Effect successfully highlights the capacity for addiction, shifting a changed their perspective of this and porn within the hour, encouraging people to talk about sex and the internet.
Wonderfully orchestrated, its interaction opening up thought, Wonder Fools, Jack Nurse and Robbie Gordon with some great performances, have effectively pulled it off, as well, it got me speaking about it at the end of the night.
For more on The Coolidge Effect and the rest of its tour click here.