Review: 'Skin Flick' at the Pumphouse Theatre

Vicki Trask

OnStage Calgary Critic

Sex is funny. Sex can be very comedic in certain situations – especially when presented in a two-act play about an inexperienced, down and out couple who make a porno to pay the bills. “Skin Flick” is Morpheus Theatre’s latest endeavor at the Pumphouse Theatre, turning the Joyce Doolittle into the set of a 1990s den of sin. When I say “den of sin” I mean the living room of a middle-aged couple soon to be down on their luck. 

The premise is hilarious and relatable: a couple, strapped for cash, decide their best option is to hire some actors to make a skin flick while they wait for their next source of income. They hire a recently fired singing telegram, an inexperienced and unwitting bookie, and a cameraman who was fired for groping his coworker. All fodder for an evening of uproarious laughter. That said, I wasn’t rolling in the seats for Norm Foster’s comedy. 

As difficult as it may seem, I didn’t buy their story. The story of Rollie and Daphne Waters who just need money and they’re willing to make pornography. The couple’s sexual openness felt forced for the sake of the story rather than a logical character progression. Part of that awkwardness I must attribute to Scottie Grinton and Wendy Froberg who both gave subdued performances. Scottie gave a quiet charm to Rollie but his movements and line deliveries were stilted; while Wendy’s blocking felt stiff but her voice was much smoother. I think director Alice Nelson used her actors to the best of her ability given the text she was working with.

The character of Alex Tatt stood out as forced. Mark Lyndon’s performance was quite accurate and genuine but every word out of his mouth seemed to be reaching for a laugh and that made the character boring. The actors that drew me in were, believe it or not, the porn stars. Jennifer LeBlanc and Matthew Hall gave honest – if not a little cheesy – performances, and I genuinely fell in love with these two. They were sweet and real in a room full of dirty jokes and innuendos.

Over all, I think the actors did a fantastic job at the task they were given and “Skin Flick” is a fun and funny night at the Pumphouse Theatre.