Review: Sex Education Xplorers (S.E.X.) by Mamoru Iriguchi (Summerhall)
Updated: Jun 9, 2023
Most of our sex education at school that was, at best, flimsy. What our fourteen-year-old selves were told to expect about the sexes, gender, and intimacy is a long way off from what we understand it to be today. This is especially true for the LGBTQ+ community, particularly those who grew up when Section 28 was in place to restrict the “promotion” of homosexuality. In Sex Education Xplorers (S.E.X.), we are treated to a class of sex education if Mamoru Iriguchi and Afton Moran, who use their real names in the performance, were in charge.
This includes some hilarious metaphors, crazy costume changes, and lots of camp music. There is always a new joke or convention on display so it never becomes stale. Moreover, it is truly educational. We learn about evolution, anatomy, and sea squirts, amongst other things. It is much more than just an educational show for teenagers though; the cheesy, inviting style of performance offers something for any and all older generations as well.
Iriguchi and Moran are dynamic performers, whose inhibitions are cast away as quickly as their clothes. They deliver their lesson with explicit joy rather than a nudge-nudge-wink-wink slyness, which makes it endearingly open and trustworthy. Moran in particular is a tremendous stage presence; when they take over to talk about the gender binary their confidence and charm wash over the stage.
Photo Credit: Kat Gollock
It is unfortunate that the upbeat tone does not last the whole way through. Towards the end, a conflict breaks out. It is prolonged and tense, and ends the performance on more of a downer than the audience might expect having enjoyed an hour of goofy and informative on-stage antics. Ultimately, the show is rather unbalanced; there is a great deal of focus on the past, and a healthy slice of the future, but as an unexpected guest points out there is only a slither of discussion about the present. This may have been the intention; we’re here now and don’t necessarily need a tour guide. But even so, the audience is left wanting a little too much by the end of the performance.
The silver lining is that, for a majority of the run time, there is very little reference to hetero- and cisnormativity. The performance almost avoids acknowledging them altogether. It creates a queer utopia – one in which gender and sexuality are explained in their most basic forms rather than assumed. This is not to say that the performance ignores the discrimination that the LGBTQ+ community face, but, for most of an hour, we can exist outside of it, in an audience largely made up of our own community.
It is refreshing to have questions about how sex and gender work answered in simple and progressive terms. With two supremely entertaining hosts and packed with entertaining explanations, Sex Education Xplorers (S.E.X.) by Mamoru Iriguchi is the affirming, inclusive, and explicit sex education we all deserved when we were young. Four stars.
Whispers from the Crowd:
Incredibly funny. It was surprisingly emotional and uplifting.