The Fly Honey Show promises something for everyone—except minimalists | Theater Review | Chicago Reader

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The Fly Honey Show promises something for everyone—except minimalists

There's sex-positivity, body-positivity, whooping, hollering, and convulsing, all loud and proud.


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For all its talk of inclusion, the Fly Honey Show is not about subtlety, nor is it for minimalists. Now roaring into its ninth season, the ear-blisteringly loud, unabashedly proud, intersectional feminist extravaganza of spoken word, song, and dance claims some 300 ensemble members and 35 featured acts spreading their gospel of sex- and body-positivity and their multitude of legs over a five-week run at the Den. They promise 150 minutes, and they make you go a full 180. There's a lot of whooping, hollering, and convulsing on- and offstage, all led by host Mary Williamson, whose tone strikes a frequency between gym coach about to fine you 50 push-ups and camp counselor leading you into parts definitely unknown, together with her lovely cohosts, Sydney Charles and Molly Brennan.

And yet there is something disarmingly familiar about the big-band jazz and the completely unspectacular gyrating that open the hours in the Hive—a reminder that for all the leather, pasties, lace, straps, and glitter, these bodies belong to your neighbor, your friend, your coworker. And, the hosts emphasize, the same rules should apply inside as out: don't touch without permission. Though the script at times veers into a choral pedantry that hints at an unverified proportion of lapsed Catholics among the production team, if you're coming for sexy talks and sexy walks, there's plenty for the gawking. And sometimes more: the highlight of opening weekend was the brave and beautiful poetry of transgender performance artist Bea Cordelia speaking her mind.   v

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