For those who want to hear about River Huston’s life, go see her show “Sex, Cellulite & Large Farm Equipment: One Girl’s Guide to Living and Dying.” You’ll get a few laughs, and some good insight, but not much more. Huston’s one-woman show is playing at the main stage of the Society Hill Playhouse, and tickets are $30 or $35, depending on the time of attendence. “Sex” is aimed at a 20-something and older female audience, and leaves at-tendees appreciating themselves, and knowing a great deal about River Huston.
Huston is truly a comic, and has sex on the brain. While she had the audience laughing, most of her jokes were about sex, dildos, sex, men and sex. Get the picture? They seemed to get old after a while. The women who compromised 90 percent of the audience laughed much more then the men. Many of her jokes were about female problems that only women can appreciate and find truly amusing, for example, yeast infections. Every woman in the audience was laughing, while the men just chuckled; they could not empathize. Huston does do a great job of becoming personable with her audience, and encourages some limited audience participation. Having done her show hundreds of times gives Huston the ability to sound more natural, down-to-earth, and less rehearsed.
After her monologue about sex, Huston divulged that she contracted HIV from her first husband. She elaborated on her disease for the rest of the show. Huston explained the confusion, frustration, and other emotions that she felt after hearing the news. But she continued to explain that being HIV-positive did not limit her to being happy and finding love again with her second and current husband.
Not only is Huston a performer, but also she is an activist, poet and journalist as well. She includes four of her poems throughout her 80 minute show. These fit well with the tone and topics at hand, and are fabulous to hear from their creator’s mouth. Her poems are passion-ate and made you want to purchase a book of her poetry.
Huston did leave the audience with some morsels of truth to digest. “Models aren’t even happy with their bodies,” she reminded us. “It’s all how you see yourself, celebrate your cellulite,” Huston encouraged, “if someone gets down on their knees and proposes and you want to vomit, don’t do it!” It was moments like these during the performance that are thoroughly enjoyable. Moments of great advice sandwiched between sex and HIV.
While very personable, she was almost too personal with her show. After the first few minutes of sex jokes, it then turned into a personal vendetta of her life and how she copes with the fact that she is HIV positive. For those of us in the audience who don’t have AIDS, it wasn’t much help. Although it gave us insight, we weren’t looking for it.
Huston was hysterical at parts. “Sex” also gave good insight into being a woman. I would love to hear Huston speak in a different setting and read her poems. This particular show just lacked something I could not put my finger on. I expected it to be less personal, and more of a comedy about everything under the sun. It received rave reviews from everyone, which also bolstered expectations. Maybe it was the show’s lack of other actors; maybe it was missing a plot. Whatever it was, I won’t be talking about this show with my friends or encouraging them to see it. Unless you are a female, have a spare night in South Philadelphia and $35 burning in your pocket, you are not missing out by skipping Huston’s “Sex.”