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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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In a sexual health clinic, Dr Lane (Helena Blackman) sees a succession of men suffering with impotence, listens to their stories, and with warm good sense, tries to steer them towards healing. Meanwhile, the clinic’s glamorous receptionist, Kelly (Rebecca Crookshank) enjoys a vigorous sex life with her boyfriend Tommy (Randall Lyon), the only male character in the play to have no penile dysfunction, perhaps because he is too stupid to be sexually impeded by thinking.

The five beleaguered men are a rich collection of personalities including bemused homely Keith (Don Cotter), angry analytical Saul (Nik Drake) and charming but self-effacing cruiser Joseph (Paul Harnett). Helena Blackman holds the space beautifully as the doctor, but her character can give no easy solutions to the problem in hand. When the men come together in a group therapy session with a nutty New Age teacher, the inadequacies and excesses of their characters are to the fore with hilarious effect.

The script bounces along with scarcely a bum note, stuffed full of jokes on contemporary culture, delivered with relish by the actors. There is some finely judged physicality (see lovely clumsiness from Tom Durant-Pritchard as gawky Gareth, the caged beast that is Neil Stewart playing an irate radical and Rebecca Crookshank’s mesmerising wiggle). Jessie May deserves mention for sketching in the men’s girlfriends/a mother/ a whore in a quintet of great character vignettes (though her passive-aggressive meditation teacher is a parody too far, excellent dolphin impression notwithstanding).

Where Impotent really scores, however, is with its massive package of laugh-lines: the evening is a veritable chuckle-fest. Direction by Graham Hubbard has wonderful rhythm and Matt Reed’s comedy-writing skills are firmly and proudly tumescent.

-by Alison Goldie


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