Kissing Sid James
nytheatre.com review by Heather McAllister
December 15, 2011
Kissing Sid James by Robert Farquhar is a lovely and hilarious new piece appearing as part of the delightful 59E59’s Brits On Broadway 2011 series. A hysterical and bold peek through a seedy seaside motel window into a fledgling couple’s first weekend away together, the breathlessly paced tale, directed by Jason Lawson, runs and jumps from moment to moment with the lightning speed and mad skills of the classic Manchester Team of the mid-nineties.
Immediately sucked into the world of Crystal and Eddie, we see their excitement, feel their tension, sweat their seduction, cringe at their sex, recognize their games, and feel the sting of their arguments. Both the “flimsy see-thru nightie thing” and Crystal and Eddie’s artifice and personal walls are torn away “as easy as pulling a curtain” to reveal—and ultimately celebrate—the very souls of Crystal and Eddie.
As Crystal, the gorgeous Charlotte McKinney is a knockout. Calm, grounded and supremely confident, McKinney is continuously surprising and endearing. Legs for days, built like an Amazon, she rocks the perfectly tarty outfits by Kate Klinger like a runway model for Frederick’s of Hollywood. As her clothes are removed, her character is revealed. Layer by layer, we grow to love her more and more.
The awesome Alan Drake as the nebbishy Eddie is no less than stellar. I can’t spoil the surprise, but let me say he shines in one of the funniest scenes I’ve witnessed in twenty years of New York theatre. His commitment, his bravado, his timing are all priceless, but his vulnerability—given to us freely—is what truly makes him a rock star of the stage.
According to Wikipedia, the Sid James of the title was an English-based South African actor and comedian. He made his name as Tony Hancock's co-star in Hancock's Half Hour and also starred in the popular Carry On films. He was known for his trademark "dirty laugh" and lascivious persona. Besides the title, and a few British expressions here and there, the show translates into American English pretty easily.
Fearless, wild, reckless and shocking, the play and both actors are hilarious. While laughing at them, laughing with them, we get a chance to laugh at ourselves. And, although this bawdy piece was initially a little embarrassing to take a new companion to see, ultimately it proved quite the ice breaker! My only complaint was the play’s ending. Like Eddie’s fumbling attempts at lovemaking, it came too soon and left me wanting more.