by Ed Malin · August 10, 2014
Tea is anything but simple. That is what, humble American that I am, I discovered at Sex, Lies & Earl Grey. Georgina (Deborah Berenson) lectures and sings her way through the proper manners for enjoying tea (and by extension, all of life). It turns out that one’s life (like tea) may look perfect but great contradictions almost certainly lurk beneath the fragile surface.
Jimmy Horan mans the piano for the musical numbers, which range from masterful (Cole Porter’s “So In Love”) to uncomfortable (Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” as well as a noble attempt at British gospel). Georgina shares her inner discomfort with the audience, some of whom she invites up to participate in one-sided conversations. “Ryan”, known onstage as “Brian” was extremely patient with the many rules, such as touching the full plate of biscuits.
Georgina does have many good points, such as that a nation of people running around drinking coffee from paper cups lacks the charming conversation skills of those who sit down to high tea.
Evidently, there is a great big double standard about women’s behavior. It could lead to keeping secrets. Georgina’s former husband had a gnome named Gnigel (with a silent G) whom Georgina now carries in her purse. What ever happened to the un/fortunate husband? For this and more, be a dear and go see the show. Not only are Berenson and Horan wonderful entertainers, director Marc Eardley makes the annoying and didactic not boring.