There are few things trickier—and more daunting—than the depiction of sex in live theatre. Productions often err on the side of either timidity or vulgarity. One of the remarkable things about F Buddy, performed by Danielle Weeks and written by Weeks and director Jolene Adams, is that it expansively covers a full range of responses to the subject of carnality—its humor, its manipulation, and its sensuous, atavistic, and vulnerable aspects.
Weeks plays Ellie, a character so bereft from the first man to ever break up with her that her resentment transforms her into a self-indulgent sexual virago, including a hilariously uncomfortable depiction of a drinking binge turning into spontaneous group sex. "I'll feel it," she tells herself in the moment. "But I don't want to see it."
When Ellie finds a studly guy to serve as the eponymous f*** buddy, she savors both the newfound control and the studied casualness of their assignations—that is, until she starts developing feelings for him and tries to suppress them. Weeks provides wild, gymnastic re-creations of sexual activity, while costumed, that are amusing and titillating, with the aid of the terrifically inventive Adams. Weeks' physical agility is also ably on display, doing shtick during partially obscured changes of costume behind a curtain and in her physical interpretation of Ellie's boyfriend, er, buddy, who devours her the minute he walks through her door. Weeks' outrageous facial expressions and multiple voices are priceless.
Weeks and Adams could have had a one-hour sexual romp here, with no higher aspirations, but subtly and cleverly, there are sensitively placed moments that fit the sexy scenario, as when Ellie, in flagrante delicto, begins to fall for her lover, based on his use of one word as he reaches for a fallen pillow. And it is the final coda, without being cloying, that sums up delicately why torrid sex can transform itself into something deeper, more enduring.
Presented by and at Actors Art Theatre, 6128 Wilshire Blvd. #110, L.A. Wed. 8 p.m. Feb. 28-Apr. 4. (323) 969-4953. www.actorsart.com.