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The Good Girl

Theatre Review by Howard Miller

Giacomo Baessato and Leah Gabriel
Photo by Lloyd Mulvey

Safe sex has taken on a whole new meaning in the dystopian world inhabited by the characters in Emilie Collyer's darkly comic science fiction play, The Good Girl, opening tonight at 59E59 Theaters after picking up the Best Writer award for the Australian playwright at the 2013 Melbourne Fringe.

Clocking in at a fast-paced 50 minutes, the play takes place in a tiny apartment/micro-brothel where Anjali (Leah Gabriel) lives and works as the proprietress, or madam if you prefer, of a female sexbot. These sexual surrogates have become de rigueur after an unnamed disease swept thorough the population, leaving millions of dead in its wake. Human interactions and sexual activity are highly restricted, hence the creation of these safe and clean robots.

Anjali takes pride in her work in what has become a highly competitive field. She also is ambitious, dreaming of the day when she can save enough money to join "the Select," those who are allowed to live their upscale lives in private homes, and even to bear children. In this ambition, she has a couple of tricks up her sleeve that she hopes will make her sexbot stand out among the others of her kind.

Unwillingly, Anjali is forced to take on a business partner, Ven (Giacomo Baessato), a maintenance man who has come to do a tune-up on the robot and discovers that she is starting to display unsanctioned human characteristics. While we never see the robot, we can hear her voice crying out in imitation of sexual ecstasy, followed, unexpectedly, by a few moments of quiet weeping. It turns out that the tears, along with some other features, are Anjali's way of increasing her robot's desirability. Her clients, it seems, want more than just acquiescence from their sex partners.

Within its brief running time, the play packs in quite a mixture of satire, sexual situations, and even a nod to a famous movie musical. Solid performances, Adam Fitzgerald's direction, the compact set design by Dan Daly, and the lighting design by Zach Blane all contribute to the overall science fiction feel. Applause, too, to Tamara Sevunts, who provides the voice of the unseen but very much present robot.

The Good Girl
Through February 28
59E59 Theaters - Theater C, 59 East 59th Street, between Park and Madison
Tickets online and current Performance Schedule: TicketCentral

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