The future of sex in Future Sex, Inc is no sex. Orgasms are induced artificially via a new device, a wristband that slaps on like handcuffs, and is sold world-wide by an enslaving global corporation deftly named Monocorp. A handsome, talking-head president (Todd Waring) announces on a video feed that a virus surging out of Southeast Asia is spread by “intimacy.” He declares that physical sex between humans is now illegal. The only available release for the primal urge is copulation with robots or the aforementioned orgasm device.
The plot line by playwright/composer/lyricist John Papageorge is complex in detail, but straightforward in concept. The evil Monocorp is led by a scheming, treacherous CEO (Tanya Alexander), whose goal is, of course, world domination. Her right-hand executive, the coldly seductive Vivian (Ally Dixon), manipulates a talented young advertising guy, George O. Thornhill (Kevin McDonald), into writing a captivating jingle for the insidious product. Thornhill is an innocent, all googly-eyed to be in LA and the perfect tool.
Any empire spawns rebellion, and the leaders of this rebellion are performers who have been vilely and cruelly used by the CEO. Mr. Hadji (the convincingly adept Michael Uribes), a Las Vegas-style magician exotically dressed in Punjabi robes and a turban, lost his wife to the machinations of Monocorp. Likewise, Malika (Maya Lynne Robinson), a performer headed for stardom, had her career destroyed by Monocorp in a plot to steal and exploit talent. A similar plot made rising young rapper Jamal (Sean Leon) the victim of yet another Monocorp scheme, a plan for him to commit a staged crime in an effort to gain “street cred,” a venture that landed him in jail for ten years.
In classic style, there is an MC (tart-tongued, sardonic Alex Vergel), who, stationed on a platform above the stage, introduces the show and, from time to time, delivers commentary, like the Stage Manager from Our Town.
The Ensemble (Erica Ibsen, Natalie Polisson, Briana Price and Elise Zell), a vigorous quartet of dancer/singers, are the backbone of the show. With unflagging energy and calm composure, they execute April Thomas’s complex choreography with a precision necessary in the tight confines of the available space. They express a work-a-day sexuality that is, amazingly, kind of innocent. The mimed sex acts are nominally graphic, but there is no nudity. The actions are chastely suggestive, but far from nasty.
With a Valley Girl accent and a vocal fry, Jolie Adamson delivers a hilarious performance as the pop-diva automaton, Cherry. Her resting pose, a little finger poised by her mouth à la Doctor Evil, is perfect. The robot is, seemingly, a beta version. When her programming freezes occasionally, the action stops, and one time she listed to port and nearly toppled.
The best moment in the show belongs to Maya Lynne Robinson as Malika who gives a truly over-the-top demonstration of the artificially induced orgasm triggered by the Monocorp device, then doubles-down with an even more intense orgasm that takes her part way into the audience. Utterly, breathtakingly hilarious!
If there is a problem with the show, it is that the lyrics are often lost in the action, the energetic choreography and the rapid tempo. However, the lyrics are repeated and one can catch the drift, and, in the long run, maybe it doesn’t really matter so much. The dancing and the action is just plain fun to watch.
The show is lavishly produced. The set by David Offner is solidly built with lots of welded steel and a multilevel design that provides plenty of flexabililty, which is skillfully enhanced by Kelley Finn’s lighting design. Michael Mullen’s lavish costume design is incredible; it boasts lush fabrics, character-defining choices and provides multiple changes for the ensemble and most of the principals. Projections designed by Katerina Pagsolingan and Yee Eun Nam are entertaining in their own right and reinforce the action on stage.
Artfully directed by Kiff Scholl, Future Sex, Inc. is a bawdy pop-musical spectacle rife with rough, naughty language and plenty of simulated sex acts of literally all kinds. It is not a show for straight-laced puritans. It’s entertaining; it’s fun, and it doesn’t pretend to be anything else.
Future Sex, Inc. runs through February 19 at the Lounge Theatre, 6201 Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood.