Reviewed by Nicholas McBurney
Lauren & Amanda Do It
by Lauren Cauchy, Amanda Logan & Allison Harris
Toasted Theatre Company
55 min / Comedy, Talk Show / Mature
The opening night hashtag ended up being #vulvazit.
Lauren & Amanda Do It is the first Fringe show I’ve been to where the PSA at the start encourages you to keep your phone out and Twitter open. The talk show format at Live! on Elgin includes a whirlwind of segments like trivia, an audience drinking game, original songs, a commercial break, local art, and guest discussions. Original live music from Rhythm and Burgundy’s Allison Harris acts as a marker between segments to let the audience take a breath between laughing.
Each show of this new work will center on a broad sexuality topic as chosen by an audience-spun wheel. Health and Body Image is not an easy topic to talk about in most contexts, let alone opening night of Fringe – but between frank discussions about STIs, how getting tested together can be a fun friend-date, and excerpts from a host’s teenage diary, the women managed to pull off a skillful mix of comedy and vulnerability.
Different guests each night means the audience can expect candid discussions with every viewing. The opening preamble that encouraged a safe and open space helped to keep the show from feeling invasive or judgmental and everyone onstage reinforced that atmosphere. Privileges were immediately acknowledged and feedback cards were provided to point out any blind spots. All of this worked together to allow the guests of the night to share their most embarrassing, and funniest, stories about sex and STIs.
The show was not without its opening night pains. The live mics made a frustrating amount of noise on their stands and the placement of inflatable chairs on a narrow riser ended with a tumble. Fortunately no one was hurt and the whole thing could be laughed off but I do hope there is some set re-arranging planned for future performances.
Like a favourite sex-positivity podcast, this is a show worth revisiting if it fits your schedule. You’ll likely get a new topic and the three performers’ rapport is tight enough you’ll laugh just as hard the second time around.
Lauren & Amanda Do It by Toasted Theatre Co. is playing at Live! on Elgin (220 Elgin St) until Sunday June 18, 2017. Tickets cost $12 online and at the door. Visit ottawafringe.com for the show schedule and box office info.