Review: Sex with Friends (and Other Tiny Catastrophes)

A musical of contrasting desires and ambitions

musicals review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Sex with Friends, photo by Callum John
Published 20 Aug 2022

Six friends explore themselves (and each other) in this new musical by young queer theatre company GOYA. We watch Mel, Lily, Jordan, Willow, Marc and Ben negotiate their post-University friendships, while political affiliations, corporate jobs, wanderlust and romantic ties push them together and pull them apart. 

Sex With Friends is strongest when it digs into their contrasting desires and ambitions, often using duets to battle it out from opposing sides, but the musical’s snapshot structure – spread over a series of parties, many months apart – makes it tricky to flesh out these characters as recognisable people. Savvy costuming takes us some of the way there (a chic blouse nails Jordan’s young Tory energy) and framing individual verses as voice notes and private conversations helps to bring dimensionality to what would otherwise be quite repetitive staging.

Just like the cast of Friends before them, there are many high-powered jobs and conveniently affordable living situations across the six pals – and poor Ben’s money worries are reduced to the butt of a joke. Despite the innuendo of its title, Sex with Friends is overly sanitised and would benefit from lingering in more uncomfortable places. But writer and composer Sam Woof (who also plays Marc) is a promising talent, and this skilled cast, many of whom are performing in two shows a day, are impressively fresh. Sex with Friends is a clean, funny but platonic hour: justice for Ben!