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SEXUAL PERVERSITY IN CHICAGO – ReviewPlays.com

From what information I collected about the dating world in the late 70s, it turned out to be the most exhilarating and frustrating time for both sexes. The sexual revolution of the ’70s is the bastard child from the one-night stand of the strict guidelines of the ’50s and the sexual liberation of the ’60s. The result is playing a whole new game where the old rules don’t fit. The world is different and people try their best to keep up.

It is a new era where women work outside the home making either the same or more money than their male colleagues. The days of asking the man for an allowance á la I Love Lucy days are a distant memory. Women are now able to take care of themselves financially. However when it comes to dating, the women are just as perplexed as the men. The dating scene has changed drastically and mistakes will be made. David Mamet captures perfectly how the old rules of dating fight to stay alive in contemporary times. He shows that if you don’t go with the times you’ll be left way behind and stay there.

Bernie Litko (Bob Rusch) is the last of a dying chauvinistic breed. He’s rude, obnoxious, full of unbelievable stories of incredible sexual encounters that he shares proudly with co-worker and best friend Danny Shapiro (Kyle Bornheimer). The first time the audience meets Bernie he’s in the middle of telling Danny an incredible sexual conquest he recently had. Bernie holds nothing back as he proudly puffs out his chest recounting the night. Danny has no problem being a captive audience.

Danny falls in love with a free spirited commercial artist Deborah (Julie Mintz) and after a few dates the couple quickly moves in to live together. Much to the dismay of Bernie, who at first sees it an opportunity for a threesome, and Deborah’s former roommate Joan (Pip Newson) considers the relationship doomed. Living together isn’t as blissful as the couple envisioned. They fight over minor details and realize that moving in causes more friction than pleasure.

Sexual Perversity is a series of brief, rapid scenes still connected to form a great story. Along with the ups and downs of dating, the audience gets to see a more personal side to each character. Joan is a neurotic schoolteacher who’s sexually frustrated and ironically can’t stand kids. Earlier, she meets Bernie at a bar that manipulates the conversation after she turns him down. This is a perfect example how the dating regime clashes and burns. Bernie is old school with no hint of changing whereas Joan is trying to own her new female empowerment and not doing a great job. Rusch is hysterical as the over-inflated Bernie. He’s funny, talks a lot of smack and sees nothing wrong with his candor. As the poster child for an extinct male species, he’s admired by fellow men and a true to life nightmare for women. The war between sexes has never been so funny and sad at the same time.

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