When you’re at school, you naturally assume that your teachers are Proper Grown-ups who’ve got their lives together. Then you leave school, become a Proper Grown-up yourself, and realise that may not have been the case after all. It certainly isn’t for Krissy, the protagonist of Katie Bignell’s Post Sex Spagbol and newly appointed counsellor and sex ed teacher at the posh boarding school run by her dad. It quickly becomes apparent that Krissy is struggling; estranged from her mum, pining for her ex, and judging her own self-worth solely by how many guys want to have sex with her, she ends up taking her dissatisfaction out on her students, deliberately giving them terrible advice regardless of the potential consequences.
Three performers (Katie Bignell, Georgia Livingston and Signe Ebbesen) share the role of Krissy and the various different characters she comes into contact with, from crushes to hook-ups to students to parents, as she stumbles down an increasingly destructive path. The result is a mildly chaotic and often very funny show that doesn’t hold back on any front, whether it’s frank discussions about lady parts, a surprisingly emotional soliloquy about shaving, or a brazen attempt to hook up at a funeral. Krissy is undeniably a complete mess, and very easy to pass judgment on – but if we’re being totally honest, she’s also very relatable; putting aside her wildly inappropriate teaching methods, she’s ultimately just a young woman trying to find her way in a society that expects us all to be “perfect”, whilst struggling with anxiety, nursing a broken heart and enjoying an active – if not necessarily that satisfying – sex life. The moments in which she pauses and opens up to the audience about how she’s truly feeling are genuinely moving, sometimes unexpected and almost always something that most women watching the show will be able to identify with.
Director Caitlin Lee Smith oversees a polished production, which opens with the three performers taking time to carefully set the stage, just as a teacher would do at the start of a class. Once that’s done, the pace picks up and then never falters, building to a crescendo in the play’s final moments as Krissy finally hits rock bottom and begins to understand that her actions have consequences, and, just maybe, something in her life needs to change.
Frank and unashamed, Post Sex Spagbol explores the young adult female experience with humour and honesty. Expect to laugh, cringe, nod, gasp – and maybe even shed a tear or two as this journey of self-discovery unfolds.
Post Sex Spagbol is at The Space until 10th September.