SEX!, Neo-Futurists. Over the past 15 years the Neo-Futurists have created some of Chicago's most innovative productions: wild adaptations of Kafka and Freud, slashing deconstructions of contemporary society, solo shows that transcend the tiresome solipsism of all too many confessional monologues. Their current show, Sex!, might have reached the same genre-defying heights. Instead, writer Sean Benjamin and company have come up with a sweet, very smart, but hardly groundbreaking sketch-comedy revue. Borrowing the rhetorical strategies of The Daily Show and SNL's "Weekend Update," Sex! parodies TV newsmagazines--the puffed-up on-air talent, the shallow discourse, the excessive visual stimulation--to poke fun at our attitudes toward sex using real news stories and personal reminiscences.
The young, attractive ensemble--Benjamin, Chloe Johnston, Noelle Krimm, Steve Mosqueda, and Jay Torrence--does a great job re-creating the look and feel of a TV news show. However, like many TV parodies, this one also reproduces the narrow-minded assumptions and values of contemporary American TV, particularly the privileging of young, attractive, fashionably dressed middle-class people. Still, the show is very funny. Amazingly, we remain hung up enough about sex that mentioning the word "masturbation" will send titters through a room. But I was laughing too.