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Hudi Charin scopes out what Loose Cannon Theatre have been rustling up for Edinburgh Fringe.

‘He’s almost 17. He has to get laid before his birthday or he can’t be my friend.’

With lines like these from some of the biggest films and TV shows of the noughties and nineties, Cherry offers a refreshing take on virginity, and questions the culture in which have all grown up.

The Inbetweeners first taught us the best way to deal with an under performing organ is to yell at it in frustration.

A culture which seems obsessed with virginity, or rather losing virginity. From Skins to The Inbetweeners and from Clueless to 50 Shades of Grey, virginity is framed as an important plot point, or a major flaw of character.

As Cherry points out, most of us would have been well under 16 when The Inbetweeners first taught us the best way to deal with an under performing organ is to yell at it in frustration. What has this done to our view of sexuality and the subject of virginity?

The use of props is highly inventive, and quite mesmerising

Written and directed by Elliot Brett and Polly Wain, Cherry is unashamedly honest, critical and thought-provoking. From the outset the show is compelling, as it is written around authentic interviews and testimonies. Hundreds of voices help to conclude that we are all a bit clueless when it comes to sex, which is something anyone can relate to.


Cast members Lizzie Annis, Lily Carr, Mikey Tsoukkas, Joss Gillepsie, Jessica Garlick and Layla Madanat are so in tune with one another, and each moment is so seamlessly performed that you will believe every persona they take on. They speak in first person in multiple different roles, each one seemingly truthful and unscripted, leaving us intrigued as to which moments are real and which are acted.

The use of props is highly inventive, and quite mesmerising in the effortless transitions between ideas and scenes. Against a backdrop of an unmade bed and a hanging sheet, the cast use a single projector to explore the show’s original and complex themes.

this balance of humour and tackling sensitive issues that makes the stories in Cherry so important.

The show is amazingly simple yet visually brilliant, you will not take your eyes off the cast as they string fairy lights, pour ‘blood’ and play violins. Madanat’s struggle against a shadow is yet another example of this creative integration of props into the dialogue. Although the show doesn’t involve participation, it still manages to feel like the cast is in relaxed conversation with the audience.

A multitude of topics and emotions are packed into this short work. Garlick’s take on Anastasia Steele and Tsoukkas as a young gay man struggling to find potential partners is genuinely hilarious. Yet within minutes, sincere silence falls for Annis’s frank discussion of virginity and religion.

This show challenged deeply ingrained stigma and taboo, from the idea of penetrative sex as the true loss of virginity to the sexual confidence and entitlement of men.

Gillepsie’s heartfelt portrayal of a young man pressuring his girlfriend into sex is as relatable as it is detestable, shining light on the pressure on young men to lose their virginity at an age where emotional maturity is still developing. It is this balance of humour and tackling sensitive issues that makes the stories in Cherry so important.

This show challenged deeply ingrained stigma and taboo, from the idea of penetrative sex as the true loss of virginity to the sexual confidence and entitlement of men.

Produced by Anna Wyn and Grace Calvert, and stage managed by Ben Orr, Cherry is the production of Bristol based theatre makers Loose Cannon Theatre. It is now showing at the Edinburgh Fringe, and it’s definitely worth catching. Although only 50 minutes, Cherry will get you talking and thinking for much longer.

★★★★

Cherry is showing at theSpace @ Venue 45 from the 7th-26th of August. Tickets here.

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