Project XXX
Project XXX

I'm not one to shy away from experimental theatre, but an imperious show on the art of feminist sex blogging is pushing the boundaries, even for me.

Reassuringly, Project XXX is about so much more than that. Premiering at The Edge Theatre and Arts Centre in Chorlton before embarking on a North West tour, the play explores the mainstreaming of internet pornography through social media, and its impact on burgeoning young relationships.

Amy (Chloe Wade) is a 15 year-old sex blogger determined to document her exploits for her faithful sisterhood. Her somewhat reluctant prey, Callum (Liam Tims), has an unhealthy obsession with faded porn star Jenna Jamze (Hayley Thomas) and soon develops his own mindless agenda based around his dark fantasies.

Laid Bare Theatre's debut piece is the culmination of two years of research collected from workshops with young people, in their aim to present social and political issues through exciting and dynamic theatre.

There are sound performances from each of the cast members — two of which only appear on screen — and the use of digital media by way of communication is an innovative way of modernising the performance. At times the scene changes are clumsy and the action is slow with a limping narrative that seems to contradict its very premise.

Amy is by and large an unlikeable character with an over-inflated ego. Whatever her objective, to want to support her mission is challenging. There are flashes of emotional depth that soften her hard exterior and the hilarious on-screen shadow mime scene complete with farcical overture provides a moment of refreshing honesty in a world of over-inflated, if misguided bravado.

Comedy values aside, this is a fresh and timely piece of exploratory theatre. Raising awareness through well-executed, resonating performance is a commendable feat and Project XXX maintains that it did not intend to provide any answers but simply to ask the questions.

It is the issue of empowerment, whatever the gender, through self-worth rather than sexualization that perhaps remains a work-in-progress.

Project XXX tours to Bury Met (5 February), Octagon Theatre Studio (6 - 7 February), The Lantern - Liverpool (8 February), and DT3, The Dukes, Lancaster (24 February).

- Sarah Bloomer