It can be difficult sometimes for a critic to review certain genres like Improv or genres based heavily in audience participation, namely because of the ever changing nature of the show or because it focuses more on the viewer’s personal experience. In the case of Lauren & Amanda Do It, presented by local theatre company and part-time trivia hosts Toasted Theatre, we have a sex positive talk show being presented where the topics, the guests, and audience provided questions are vary from each performance. Ultimately, I think this kind of show is a great addition to the Fringe atmosphere and the subject matter is super important especially in a province like Ontario where the sex-ed system often leaves much to be desired.
To be honest, there’s not much criticism I have about this one hour talk show style performance that, I would say, has more of an educational drive than necessarily a desire to push artistic boundaries. I think hosts Lauren Cauchy and Amanda Logan are incredibly comfortable and confident on stage and really deliver that television talk show vibe. The show runs along smoothly with these two ladies at the helm and I would be remiss not to mention their musical accompanist Allison Harris(who I mistakenly referred to as the ‘musical guest’ on Twitter the other day) offering up some hilarious musical transitions in between segments.
Each performance an audience member is invited up on stage to spin the wheel of topics and on Sunday afternoon we were lucky enough to land on the LGBTQIA+ category. In addition to these topics we are treated to an original piece of artwork provided by local artists that have been created with one of these specific topics in mind. The poem by Toronto based actor-improvisor Holly Wyder about her ongoing struggle living in a hyper-sexualised world as an Asexual/ARomantic individual is so powerful, I was very nearly brought to tears (her haunting rendition/adaptation of Madonna’s hit song Material Girl is pretty unforgettable). There are also fun games scattered throughout the show including trivia and ‘Minute to Win It’ which could yield you some truly awesome prizes/jolly ranchers should you be brave enough to participate(the show was sponsored by Venus Envy, so shout out to them for supporting local art). Our special guest for the afternoon was Kristine Shadid who offered up very candid insights concerning virginity, dating and being brought up in a Lebanese household.
It’s great to see local theatre artists taking up the mantle when it comes to creating safe and positive spaces in which to discuss different aspects of sex and sexuality in a manner that is open and transparent. The joint gesture of recognizing their socio-economic and gender privilege (i.e. both hosts being white, cis-gendered, heterosexual women) and acknowledging that, due to this, there are bound to be gaps in their own personal knowledge and areas where they cannot speak for other individuals is an incredibly important gesture on Cauchy and Logan’s part given that these issues are incredibly complex and deeply personal.
I would love to see this team take over the Fringe late night next year (don’t worry Glenn, I still love you) or even remount another version of this show because their energy is simply infectious and I would probably watch them host a talk show about literally anything. However, I want to finish by noting how necessary it is for communities to have these creative spaces and outlets for people to have positive discussions about sex, sexuality, and gender identity (and all the messy bits that come along with those things). Lauren & Amanda Do It is proving to be an excellent avenue for facilitating this.
Created by Lauren Cauchy, Amanda Logan and Allison Harris
Produced by Toasted Theatre Company
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