Sock ‘n’ Buskin puts on strong double bill

Sock ‘n’ Buskin has produced two more successful shows packaged as a double bill. Adult Entertainment and The Maids were captivating productions filled with sex, scandal, and fury.

The Maids wasn’t a show that simply provided entertainment—it captured the audience by the throat, demanding our full attention. Hours after the show finished, I found myself working through the complicated plot, justifying and considering the actions of each character. It was dark, twisted, and at times, hard to watch. Despite its sinister themes, the cast did a great job at handling sensitive content, and the end result created a comfortable and familiar space within an otherwise risqué and provocative show.

Solange (Katie McLean) was an intricate, believable character, performed naturally by the actor. When McLean came on stage, the audience perked up, well aware that she was about to deliver an exceptional and captivating performance. Claire (Alex Wilson) found herself most often in hysterics, incredibly theatrical at times with expressive and articulate facial expressions. Both actors did an excellent job at making the audience feel what the characters were feeling, easily transporting us into their world—making the audience feel as though we were one of them.

The Maids did come across as a bit unorganized at times, and sometimes I found myself struggling to keep up. However, this is not because of the actors or their performances, but likely a side effect of ingesting such heavy material. Similar to this, Adult Entertainment left the audience in complete distress, wondering what could’ve possibly happened to the characters after the curtains closed.

In Adult Entertainment, Thomas Williams and Hayley Kirsh seamlessly executed the love/hate relationship between Max and Jayne. Their physicality and sexual tension made for excellent on-stage chemistry that was believable and justified. Furthermore, Williams’ cheeky depiction of Max had every woman in the room thinking to themselves, “Oh, he’s that guy.” It was too easy to love his character, even though it was obvious he was bad news. Sheldon Paul also shined in this production, delivering hilarious one-liners when needed, but silencing the room with a bellowing, angry voice when things got messy.

Another interesting aspect of Adult Entertainment is the character’s sincere belief that they had only done what was absolutely necessary. By the end of the production a young man had been murdered by a police officer, but the characters still believed that their actions were justified, and they were expecting to get away with it. This show told the audience that these villains were the heroes of their own story—that’s what made their chilling and emotional narrative so captivating.

When considering the technical production of both shows, the use of sensual lighting helped to amplify sexual and emotional themes. It worked to intensify subject matter and prepare the audience for upcoming scenes. In addition to this, sound effects helped illustrate the actions of all characters—especially when performing sexual acts. Although the sound quality could have been improved, it is obvious that directors Shawn Allen, Colin Mylrea, and Caitlin Hart prioritized providing a safe and comfortable atmosphere for the actors to perform. It takes skill to successfully take charge of such intense productions, and such dedication deserves to be noted.

Overall, the parental advisory warning was certainly justified. These productions led the audience on a rollercoaster of emotions, leaving us shaking in our seats with our jaws on the floor. Both casts’ deep understanding and familiarity of each production’s content made for two complicated but rewarding performances. And although none of us were expecting to become so heavily involved in this whirlwind of events, we just couldn’t help being swept away.