Down at the Storefront Theatre on Bloor Street is where you can get in touch with your kinky side with Red One Theatre Collective’s new piece Human Furniture. This piece, written by actor/playwright Claire Burns, follows a day in the life of husband and wife couple Master (Kevin Ritchie) and Slave (Lauren Horejda), and their new roommate, Pet (Karen Knox). With a relatively normal appearance, these three are the experts of kink. Master is up for a job promotion, Slave is having anxiety issues, and Pet is trying to make sure that her birthday party will put her on the kink-map. But when Master’s boss shows up an hour before the party, the shenanigans begin to ensue in a delightfully sitcom-esque style.
Human Furniture marks Burns’ directorial debut. The piece is based on a real-life couple she met three years ago. She was completely shocked about how normal they appeared, yet how kinky their other life was. This was around the same time that Fifty Shades of Grey hit its peak of fame with its representation of bondage and kink. Taking these real people as her base for the piece and creating farce, Burns set out to “subvert the norms” of kinky sex. And she does this to an almost masterful level, creating a story that is endearing, engaging and side-splittingly hilarious. The characters are written and presented in a way that mirrors their sexuality. The characters seem very two-dimensional on the outside. There is the cranky, over-worked, husband, the tightly wound wife, the rebellious young lady, the conservative old neighbour, et cetera. But as the play moves on, we learn that there are more to the characters than meets the eye. This is done in part from Burns’ fantastic writing, but also from the stellar performance of the entire cast. The over-acting they incorporate into their performance really adds to the style of the piece, and delivers fantastic comedic moments.
Stage design gives a nice contrasting innocence to the piece, with all the walls simply done up with pastel crayons, and very limited furniture. Sound Designer Samuel Sholdice also provides a great addition the piece, through his selection of music. The upbeat, underlying melodies bring the whole package together, and really make you feel like you’re watching one of your favourite R-Rated comedies.
While I don’t recommend you take your parents or children to this one, I would also say that this is one of the plays that you don’t really want to miss. The small intimate setting, helps you really connect to the performance, the acting is phenomenal, and the story is thoroughly engaging.
Human Furniture is running until Nov. 30, with round table discussions happening on the 19th, 21st, and 26th. Tickets can be purchased at the theatre, or in advance at http://secureaseat.com/human-furniture/.