Privates: A Sperm Odyssey describes itself as a show which is ‘the sexual education equivalent of Saving Private Ryan‘. How do these two themes link together, I hear you cry? The general format is that the comedic trio of Luke Rollason, Tom Curzon, and Christian Brighty alternate between a group of teachers addressing us as Year 9 and a group of sperm inside Brighty himself, who are trying to find an egg.
If that sounds like it might get confusing – well, it does. There’s one scene where we’re cycling through the various members of the sperm army (sparmy?) which is hard to keep up with, mainly due to the quick switches in the three-man ensemble between sergeants and troops. Another moment of bemusement occurs when there’s an unnecessarily long discussion between Brighty and Curzon, who plays an ancient sperm, about how to swim backwards. It’s a piece of necessary exposition, but feels a little heavy-handed and isn’t necessarily funny enough to warrant its own scene.
Privates: A Sperm Odyssey gets funnier as it progresses; we’re treated to a training montage scene of the sperm learning about female anatomy, and the use of props is absolutely ingenious. There’s a trip through the cervix and Fallopian tubes, and although this is at the expense of the sex-ed theme, which falls by the wayside a little, the white blood cell attack more than makes up for it.
In a production which is overtly sexual in nature, it would be difficult to avoid the theme of consent entirely – but when the trio do address it, it’s done in a way that doesn’t break the flow of the scene, and is surprisingly meaningful. And when the finale comes (no pun intended), it’s the perfect mix of poignant, absurd, and hilarious.
Privates: A Sperm Odyssey is enjoyably eclectic – there are dance routines, one-liners, and the use of an overhead projector which will definitely give the older members of the audience flashbacks to stuffy school assembly halls. It isn’t always cohesive, but it’s definitely a good laugh.