When Joan comes home to find her husband, Phil, cavorting with a hooker, she's remarkably unfazed. He wants to talk about it; she just wants to tidy the house in preparation for the company they're expecting that evening. That company consists of two other couples: controlling Lisa and Greg, who's suffering from sexual problems that may be more about boredom than neurosis or physiology; and horndog Carl with his kittenish and equally horny wife, Kelly. There's drinking and quipping and eventually -- of course -- one of those tell-the-truth games that always leads to trouble. "I'm bored with my life," says Lisa. And Carl: "I fantasized about all of us swapping."
Guess what happens next?
But despite the title, we soon discover that it isn't just sex. There are issues. Joan's seeming indifference to her husband's infidelity at the beginning was just a cover for her deep hurt about a long-ago incident. Greg finds he has no sexual problems at all when his bed partner is someone other than Lisa. Carl and Kelly verbalize and clarify an understanding that on some level has defined their marriage from the beginning.
The show does get a little talky. During the truth game, you find yourself wishing periodically that everyone would just strip off and get on with it. And the alternating monologues about their lives and feelings that everyone indulges in are anything but revelatory. None of these people feels quite real, and no one reacts to all that swapping in a way you'd expect of a breathing human being.
But all the performances are bright and appealing: Scott Belot is a solid Phil, matched by Patty Ionoff's intriguing Joan. Brock Benson does everything that needs to be done with Carl, who may be the least believable character in the play: when he touts the redemptive power of free love, Carl is probably speaking for the author, but the arguments aren't original nor convincing. Kirsten Deane is a strong and vulnerable Lisa; James O'Hagan-Murphy makes Greg a whole lot more interesting than he has any right to be, given the dialogue; and as the prostitute, Rebekah Shibao is sexy and cheeky.
It's Just Sex runs through July 22 at the Edge Theatre Company, 9797 West Colfax Avenue, in Lakewood. Call 303-232-0363 or visit www.theedgetheatre.com for information.