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They say: “Would-be JFK – and 20-something virgin – unravels his idealistic thoughts on sex and love, one botched sexcapade at a time. How long can he hold out for the perfect score? It’s a coming of age tale, decades in the making.”
Rachel K.’s Take: In No Sex, Please, Derek Hills takes the audience on a journey that has inspired countless movie plots since the dawn of the teen flick, and Michael Cera’s entire career—-the quest to lose your virginity. Despite none of us being virgins to this coming-of-age topic, Hills’ thoughtful turns of phrase and robust delivery made it feel like the first time, only way less awkward. No Sex, Please is a one-man show written and performed by Hills. The central question of the piece is not how he swiped that V-card, but why he waited until the ripe old age of 27 to do so.
While the story fittingly begins with Hills’ face in between a woman’s legs, he needs to go back much further to get to the “why.” He traces some of his hang-ups to his mother, a woman Hills describes as a “love child of Mussolini and Lucille Ball.” He renders her with the majestic glow of a momma’s boy, even as she grows all-too-human in the eyes of the audience.
And while you might think that the whole “mother issues” thing is about as hackneyed as a loss-of-virginity tale, know this: Hills has a knack for taking cliché and sculpting it into something that trembles with realness. He depicts a restaurant as smelling like “ketchup and looming obesity,” and, despite being a Star Trek aficionado, calls Captain Kirk “a couple of finger guns removed from Planet Douche.”
This isn’t just about his mother, either. Hills weaves anecdotes into a worldview that feels cohesive and lush. Most impressively, Hills manages to turn the phrase “vaginal secretions” into a reoccurring laugh line.
The staging of No Sex, Please is appropriately sparse. Hills shifts between different places on stage, sometimes sitting on a stool, to demonstrate the passage of time. There are also lighting shifts to mark the ends of chapters, but I found those distracting.
Hills’ shift from a “First Base Bandit” to a condom-carrying member of the sexual world is well worth the rubber. This man can really pump and thrust a story.
See it if: You want to hear a well-gyrated yarn.
Skip it if: You want to see porn rather than hear it described.
DISCLOSURE: No Sex, Please writer & performer Derek Hills is a prolific alumnus of the Fringe & Purge Action News and Commentary Squad.