Seattle Fringe Festival review:  Sexual Healing

The 2014 Seattle Fringe Festival featured 22 shows and 88 performances at five venues on Capitol Hill - The Northwest Film Forum 1 and 2, Annex Theatre, Eclectic Theater, and the newly opened Calamus Auditorium at Gay City Arts. This is the ninth and final review in a series.

Think About it Productions' Sexual Healing is a timely and influential work by Sarah Harris, and was performed by an amazing cast at the Eclectic Theater. Wondrously directed by Robert A. Hinds, the play featured Actor's Equity members Richard Arum, Amy Baldwin and Aneesh Sheth, as well as Melinda Clarke, Dani Suder, Jen Tidwell and Elayne Wylie.

The portrayal of transgender and transsexual individuals is nothing new. However, transgender has now been accepted as an alternate to the standard male or female question in many locations, bringing the issue to the forefront.

Sexual Healing compassionately discusses the issue and the resulting interpersonal relationships of transgender individuals. It centers around a self-help group composed of a Jill (Sheth), who has recently completed her transformation to a woman, Erin (Baldwin), who is uncomfortable with her "wife" Faith (Wylie), and Shawn (Tidwell) who is undergoing hormone treatment as she begins her transformation to a man. The group is mediated by Marilyn (Suder), a therapist.

In addition to the group session, we learn about Jill's difficulties in dating and being accepted by men, including Jack (Arum), as well as her roommate Kathy (Clarke), who had formerly been in love with Jill when she was a man.

Every member of this cast was amazing in their respective roles, but special kudos must be given to Sheth and Wylie, who, as transgenders themselves, bring a realistic approach to their characters. Hinds brings out every nuance of Harris' incredible play, and presents this issue in a non-threatening and understandable way.

Leave your prejudices at the door and experience Sexual Healing. AXS is proud to recommend this play as one of the best at the 2014 Seattle Fringe Festival.