The Coolidge Effect

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

Three stars

Loading article content

Robbie Gordon says hello to every single member of the audience as they walk into Traverse Two's already intimate space at the start of his and Jack Nurse's new show for the fiercely curious Glasgow-based Wonder Fools company.

This action alone is telling about what follows in a show that seeks to get beyond the computer screen where internet pornography dominates, and to connect with another human being in a real live expression of physical contact. Over the next hour of Nurse's production, Gordon attempts to draw the audience in even more to his meditations on sex, love and how a new kid on the block, on the web or in a laboratory cage can put a spring back in an otherwise jaded sexual step.

Taking its title from a 1950s scientific experiment by way of an American president's observations of chickens, Gordon navigates his way through what isn't really a one-man show partly by way of an interactive performance lecture. This is interspersed throughout with a mini narrative illustrating a near wordless relationship between a father and son sentenced to once a fortnight meetings, but who have more in common than they think.

In the end, through Gordon's dynamic and engaging presence, he, Nurse and other assorted Wonder Fools demonstrate how an entire generation of men have ended up creating their own cage and emasculating themselves. More than this, the show recognises that the problem lies in a somewhat conversely collective sense of alienation. It is a plea, if not to get touchy feely, then to switch off our hard drives and to open up to a world of possibilities beyond the virtual.