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Stripped Bare!

Time will tell if Halifax is ready to unwind and undress for The Sex Festival. Still, the month-long series of titillating theatrical performances should bring some much-needed heat to our cold winter nights. In the first in a series of our He Said/She Said reviews, Stephen Patrick Clare and Robyn McNeil share their impressions.

Pluto’s Playthings
February 16, Plutonium Playhouse, Halifax

Set against soft and plush red velvet, Pluto’s Playthings is a sensual exploration of excess that evokes the dance-hall debauchery and bold burlesque of 1930’s Berlin.

Stewart Legere is delicious as the decadent Max, sarcastic and sensitive, whose moving musical melenge underscores over-the-top performances by the exquisite Tatiana (Annie Valentina), the stoic Gunther (?), and the exotic Josephine (Naomi-Joy Blackhall-Butler).

While raunchy, racy and risqué, the campy, vampy vignettes are more evocative than erotic, baring more than mere skin and begging us to reconcile our humanity and divinity – suggesting Rimbaud’s avowal that one “becomes visionary via the systematic derangement of the senses” and that it is within the weakness of flesh where the spirit shines brightest.

In particular, the stirring and soulful duet between Max and Josephine reminds us that we conceal ourselves to reveal ourselves, and that beneath our brash veneer, each of us merely aches “to love and be loved.”

Ultimately, Pluto’s Playhouse invites us to overcome our moderation, undertake a new temptation, and sin our way into salvation. ~ SPC


Berlin in the 1930s: lurid, racy, and explicit - a perfect backdrop for Pluto’s Playthings, the new cabaret-style show from Plutonium Playhouse. Part of this year’s Sex Festival, the play is a raunchy, humorous production inspired by Weimar Cabaret, featuring music, burlesque, scandalous banter, and very sexy performers.

Light-hearted sensuality intermingles with darkness and vulnerability in the relationships between the characters in PP, and it’s in those spaces between smiles and sorrow that the characters suddenly became real. Although the entire cast give sassy, inspired performances it was Legere’s Max that drew me in the deepest; his cockney accent, risqué humour and barely masked vulnerability left me wanting to wrap him (MAX) up tightly in the love he seeks.

Strong musical performances from Legere (piano and voice), Blackhall-Butler (voice) and Lola (voice) make Pluto Playthings a campy, ear-pleasing delight. Definitely a show worth checking out. ~ RM

Pluto’s Playthings until February 19

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