Swinging expectations

Swinging expectations

Play presents on-point hilarity about the trials and tribulations of relationships

The cast of Marti Martek, Martek Marti from the first weekend’s performance. Photo: Danny Leigh

The cast of Marti Martek, Martek Marti from the first weekend’s performance. Photo: Danny Leigh

Marti Martek, Martek Marti
Manoel Theatre

Swinger comedy is not exactly something the Maltese public is accustomed to seeing at the Manoel Theatre, but Malcolm Galea’s production pleasantly satisfies this unexpected lacuna in the local scene.

The scenario introduced at the very beginning, of a 40-year-old almost-divorcee getting a dirty weekend in a Gozo farmhouse with three other couples as a birthday gift from his feisty girlfriend, instantly gives way to an enjoyable plot of laugh-out-loud coincidences and unapologetic sexual humour.

Miguel (Kris Spiteri) initially is not too keen upon his younger lover Genevieve’s (Nicola Abela Garrett) disclosure of her idea of the perfect de-stresser: a swingers party for two nights in a row. As Miguel is struggling to break ties from who he soon hopes to be his ex-wife, while at the same time trying not to neglect his children, seemingly nothing is going to stop Genevieve from encouraging her man to let loose and enjoy a completely new experience which will transform his fantasies into realities.

Hence, she decides to bring him to the spiritually-obsessed Arthur (Carlos Farrugia) and his wife Veronica (Larissa Bonaci), organisers of periodical swinging events where participants can dedicate time to finding themselves, while also exploring each other, apparently all in line with the universe and the cosmos.

The flowingly flawless acting and the unstoppable, and obviously not just sexual, chemistry between the protagonists is to be additionally attributed to Sean Briffa and Jovana Kuzeljevic, playing an astrophysics lecturer who hires a Belorussian escort as his plus-one, as well as Sarah Camilleri and Davide Tucci, portraying an unlikely couple with a highly uncomfortable link to just about every other afore-mentioned individual.

As they come to accept the reality of having to stand each other’s presence in the same house for two nights despite their differences and anxieties, juices start pumping between the group members and the situation escalates into something far more complicated than just a little bit of fun in the bedroom.

Galea gives the audience a different taste of his witty style of writing, brewing up a light-hearted and amusing comedy which is not ideal for those easily scandalised

The diversity of characters, with the common aim of giving in to their carnal desires for one weekend, are brought to life by a group of extremely talented actors who never cease to distract the audience’s attention; not even in a hot tub scene where things getting out of hand come to an end very abruptly. Consequently, the continuously bombarded jokes rarely ever fall flat as an accompaniment to the ingenious physical comedy throughout, and the plot swiftly progresses in an entertaining and charming fashion.

The evolving plot points and the different sides illustrated by each character are not necessarily unpredictable or novel, but what one would expect to be solely a sexually-driven play with constant innuendos, eventually becomes a heart-warming depiction of finding ‘the right one’ even when you think that it is definitely too late in the game.

Certain sensitive topics are touched upon in Galea’s script, including pornography in relationships, bisexuality, prostitution and, most understandably, the questionable choice of love involving the switching of partners, albeit this being hugely subtle and perhaps lacking in innovative development or exploration; this may be precisely due to their delicate nature in the ambit of a theatrical experience which mainly seeks to instil smiles and induce hearty laughs.

Despite prosperously delivering comedy-wise, the plethora of social commentary for which there was sufficient potential to delve into was slightly undermined. Yet this does not take away from the absolute delight of witnessing an array of relatable men and women experiencing all the possible ups and downs of a swinger gig gone wrong but simultaneously right.

This is by no means a debuting effort at being controversial by Galea, who is also the man behind the internationally successful and award-winning Porn: The Musical.

With this production being exclusively in the Maltese language, Galea gives the audience a different taste of his witty style of writing, brewing up a light-hearted and amusing comedy which is not ideal for those easily scandalised. But it concurrently does not consist of an annoying barrage of sex jokes which are inserted without a particular purpose.

• Marti Martek, Martek Marti is being staged at the Manoel Theatre on Friday and Saturday at 8pm and on Sunday at 3 and 7pm.

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