The Sexual Awakening of Peter Mayo

Geek-chic has never been so electrifying as in this modern screwball comedy from Jonathan Brittain

★★★★
theatre review | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 21 Aug 2011

Despite his parents’ efforts to teach him about the birds and the bees, young Peter Mayo did everything he could to block the horrific idea of sex from his life. While his school friends gathered around saucy videos, he would instead spend his time hunting down documentaries decrying its dangers, and it was only after a casual viewing of Thunderbirds—with all its titillating symbolism—that sex finally found a place in his head.

Ten years on, an accidental text message from a friendly libertine sets Peter on a course to discovering his wild side. Tiptoeing into the world of internet dating sites and fetish nights, he resolves to wake up to the heady pleasures that have so far eluded him and become a contender in the no-strings-attached realm of the carnal senses.

This modern screwball comedy from Jonathan Brittain brings to light the thriving sex communities in today’s post-Belle de Jour online community with lots of heart and not a little mischief. Michael Lyle is immensely likeable as the eponymous geek on an adventure, reminiscent of Simon Bird's turn as Will "Briefcase Wanker" McKenzie in Channel 4’s The Inbetweeners, and supporting actors Sam Donnely and Helen Duff make polygamy look like tic-tac-toe as mentor and minx. Some resourceful theatrical devices keep the action unbroken in a narrative that swings promiscuously between the past, the present and the cyber, and some simple staging effectively articulates the merging of our online and offline lives.