A suspenseful and touching ride on a cucumber.
Harry Clayton-Wright tours the UK with the noble mission of providing the Sex Education that he missed out on during his coming-of-age (and the one he did receive) to a room full of strangers. As an opener, Harry makes the brave choice of throwing us right into the ice-cold water of 1990s gay porn. Between playing with himself in the snow and questionable animal welfare, there is an apparent sensuousness and caring in the short videos that a heterosexual woman cannot help but envy. It is obvious that the first and foremost incentive of the clips (at least those shown) is mutual pleasure. With some tongue-in-cheek comments about the poor cinematography, Harry soon turns to his own story that proves again that the real world and what we see in porn hardly ever match up. Through slideshows, on-stage storytelling, audio and videoclips, dance-performances and audience engagement, Harry creates an arc of suspense with as many highs as lows and a climax that will make you laugh, cry and shiver all at the same time. Throughout this mad ride, one thing stands out the most: Harry’s impeccable timing in everything he is doing –whether it be his speech, his dance, his audio/videoediting or his sense of humour.
Ironically, the whole show is a platform for Harry to take his vows to a certain woman in his life: his mother, a devoted Christian and single parent, who believes that “some things you have to learn from friends or school”. Towards the end of his show, Harry makes the self-fulfilling prophecy that his mum will get the standing ovations she deserves, if only by her son, but at curtain call a good three quarters of the audience join in. Harry manages to make a very unconventional story so relatable and “boy-next-door-ish”, that all the kinks, the props, the cucumbers and bunny rabbits become just a superficial outer layer that is easily stripped to reveal a beautiful mother-son relationship. For his future career and relationship with his mother I have two big hopes: 1. That his very loving and caring mother does not get to see this show. And 2. That she gets to read this review. Harry Clayton-Wright told us an incredibly personal, idiosyncratic story, but never failed to show its collective relevance.
You can see Sex Education at Summerhall from 2nd – 25th August at 19:10. For tickets, please visit www.edfringe.com