The National Black Theatre Festival’s* production of Moist: Too Sexy To Be Forgotten, which opened Thursday, has been promoted as being for “mature audiences” - a double entendre of sorts, something that is a hallmark of this show.
The two-woman performance, which was co-written and co-stars Mariann Aalda (Edge of Night) and Iona Morris (General Hospital, Moesha), is an explicit combination of musical and monologue that pays tribute to the sizzling sexuality of the “mature” woman - something often overlooked, or outright shunned, by contemporary society.
The language is graphic but wryly tempered by everyday, girlfriend humor that, given the subject matter, carries the material from “blue” risqué comedy to a deeper shade of “gray-blue.”
Think of Moist as Sex In The Inner City for women over 40 (and men who wish to learn a thing or three) - still “active” and, despite popular opinion, still gunning their engines and ready to race, if they can find partners who can keep up.
And as the show repeatedly made clear, if a woman can’t find that partner, well, honey, sisters are doing for themselves these days, and having fun with it, too.
Aalda and Morris play sisters - Morris is the randy, never-married “Goddess of Love and Sexual Freedom,” and Aalda is “The Little Woman Gone Wild,” the divorced, (slightly) more conservative “desperate” housewife.
The subject matter plays on sexual taboos that have become cultural cliches and stereotypes.
When not performing their monologues - which are filled with clever one-liners (“Sometimes a one-night stand can turn into a long-term memory”) - the ladies recline on “fainting” couches. Some segments, such as Morris’ riff on self-pleasure in the Great Outdoors, were potent overtures to spoken-word erotica and literary deftness that detoured smut and tickled and teased in manners that were steamy and seductive.
The pace is quick, with monologues about sex as “the most thrilling sport in the world” interspersed with smart, bawdy songs and the odd moment of serious message, as when riffing on safe sex.
The show makes its point - Sex may be good when you’re young, but it’s great when you’re older - with humorous conviction.
As Morris said: “If it’s better than sex baby, then you’ve never had good sex.”
And the kudos continue in Los Angeles...
And the kudos continue in Los Angeles...
by Trevor Thomas
EDGE Southwest Editor
Sunday Dec 6, 2009
Calling their revue at the Hayworth Theatre a sex-istential musical comedy, this gifted duo generates enough ebullient energy to light a boulevard.
Definitely not for the whole family, "Moist!" is an exploration of the sexual lives of two very different women in the full bloom of what Miss Brodie called one’s prime.
Ginger (Aalda) has chosen the traditional path of marriage and children, where Sonia (Morris) has remained an adventurer, circumnavigating the world of sensual pleasure including several stops in Lesbos, (which she recommends as essential to any woman seeking to experience the full luxuriousness of her own sexuality).
Oh, how easily such material could descend into raucous vulgarity and cheap laughs, but there are moments in this work that are so exquisitely poetic they approach Shavian beauty. A long wait becomes "another eternity of time" and an effort to recapture forsworn potential: "I wanted to become all that I was, only more so." Rhyming couplets abound, along with allegory and metaphor, puns and entendres doubled and tripled. Though we are never far from the bawdy, it comes dressed in sassy sophistication.
The humor is inventive and smart. 9-year old Ginger announces to her dumbfounded father that her ambition is to become a courtesan, clearly understanding early on the immutable connection for women between pleasure and treasure. Sonia ruefully notes that in fifty years of theatrical portrayal, housewives have only managed to go from mad diarists to desperate: "not exactly progress."
Biting social commentary mixed with deeply personal introspection thus rebukes our youth-obsessed culture, reminding the true connoisseur of sensuality that experience and virtuosity will always trump taut skin and gravitational fortitude.
Aalda and Morris call their work a musical and let us pause on that notion a moment. Even charitably, neither performer can be called a true singer, yet both actresses are virtuoso vocal acrobats. The half-dozen ribald numbers that pepper the evening may not abound with flawless pitch, but
The ladies deliver the half dozen or so musical numbers that season their spicy concoction with great energy and verve. The two piece onstage band consists of keyboardist Haakon Graf and percussionist Munyungo Jackson, and is wonderful beyond measure. Providing the musical depth of a 8-piece ensemble and a sound environment that acts like a wry narrator, the band is the unseen but omnipresent third character in the revue.
Penny Johnson Jerald directs her actresses expertly, filling the tiny stage with energetic and eye-pleasing movement without either woman bumping into the immoderate but visually sumptuous set (designed by Christian Epps) or each other.
Moist! is a delightful piece of work, and a true guilty pleasure!
� Copyright, 2009 by Trevor Thomas. All rights reserved. Email author at email@example.com
And the kudos continue...
And the kudos continue...
“Moist” Celebrates Womanhood
By Bonnie Priever, TOLUCAN TIMES
With plenty of backstage drama and onstage sex appeal and charm, Moist ‘takes off where Sex and the City, and the Vagina Monologues began.” For chicks and significant others, this show is sure to seduce and whet one’s appetite for what promises to be an evening of pleasure – before, during and after the play! Moist lauds itself as the quintessential, “sex-istential musical comedy,” starring Mariann Aalda, as “the little woman gone wild,” and Iona Morris, as “the love goddess of sexual freedom.”
These daring, dynamic divas share semi-autobiographic stories, candidly through dialogue and creative song, exploring sensuality, love, and female empowerment, ala “I am woman, hear me roar.”
Aalda and Morris have got what it takes and know how to use it, as they prove women can still be sexy at 40, 50, and beyond. This ‘can-do’ attitude, that age is just a number is brought to life, as the duo strut their stuff in a sensual, erotic, and totally tactful manner. Their catchy lyrics set the tone:
“We’re all here to rejoice in the moist…” Set in a warm, intimate space, their stories resonate, as they embrace the moment, sharing secrets about childhood, college days, romance and getting their groove on!
Through medleys ranging from cabaret to the blues, tinged with wry humor, lessons are learned, “girlfriend style,” of the recipe to a fulfilled, sex-istential life.
February 25, 2010
BY DARLENE DONLOE, CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Iona Morris and Mariann Aalda (pictured above) are two women who are unafraid and uninhibited.
Good thing, because if they weren’t, it would be difficult to pull off their unbelievably sexually-charged, powerhouse performances in the musical “M.O.I.S.T.!,” now playing at the Hayworth Theatre in
“M.O.I.S.T.!,” an acronym for the Multiple Orgasm Initiative for Sexual Transformation, is an in-your-face, unrestrained comedy that celebrates the “seasoned woman.” Playing sisters Sonia Peechee and Ginger Peechee-Keene in this adult-themed, sex-istential production, Morris and Aalda say and do things on stage that would make a sailor blush. This play is not for the prudish, repressed or easily embarrassed.
It’s an all out sex fest that includes an open discussion and motivational workshop on the changes a mature woman’s body goes through and how said change could influence her sexual experiences.
Both Morris (“As The World Turns”) and Aalda (“Edge of Night”) give courageous performances that hang precariously on the edge. But, that’s exactly what makes the show so entertaining. It doesn’t play it safe. It has just the right amount of naughtiness, allowing the audience a voyeuristic, I-shouldn’t-be-watching-this experience.
There are natural comparisons to “The Vagina Monologues” and “Menopause: The Musical.” However, “M.O.I.S.T.!” focuses on a mature woman’s ability to continue to get her “sex on” at any age. It celebrates the many aspects of a woman, including her inner strength, femininity, frailties, vulnerability, but most of all, her ability to rise – regardless of the circumstances. With well-paced staging from Penny Johnson Jerald (“24,” “The Larry Sanders Show”) that provides great use of the space, writer-creators Morris and Aalda, make the most out of the material. The result is both informative and entertaining.
The actresses complement each other. Their timing and high-energy is on target as is their ability to effectively engage audience members while not losing character. The combination adds to the play’s appeal. “M.O.I.S.T.!” is presented in a good-natured, fun-filled, hilarious atmosphere, packed with songs, dancing, laughs, costumes and, of course, lots of sexual innuendo.
The 90-minute cavalcade of sex explores everything from a young girl’s first sexual experience, to same sex encounters, self-gratification, Cougar sex (older woman, younger man), lost love and more. OK, yes, the play doesn’t offer any fresh insights into older women and sex. But, it is most interesting when it looks beyond the physical. Yes, sometimes the material goes for the easy laugh. Nothing wrong with that. A good guffaw could hit just the right G spot. “M.O.I.S.T.!” is sure to whet the audience’s appetite. Kudos to Morris, Aalda and Jerald.
“M.O.I.S.T.!” stars Morris and Aalda, is directed by Jerald and produced by Dominic Oliver and Danna Hyams.