Sex, Dreams and Self-Control Review - A Musical Comic Adventure in Three Dreams

Sex, Dreams and Self-Control makes its West Coast Premiere Engagement from April 3-18,, 2009 @ The CAVERN CLUB THEATER

The Cavern Club Theatre is a jewel, nestled in the lower levels of Silver Lake’s Casita Del Campo. The forty seat performance space provides a supper club intimacy with only the occasional audible bustle from the restaurant above. Just as charming is the latest one-man performance entitled Sex, Dreams and Self-Control, featuring churchgoing, guitar strumming, affably disarming singer, songwriter Kevin Thornton.

Through song and anecdote, Thornton takes the audience back in time the small town of his youth, conservative Marion, Indiana. He recounts the moment in his childhood, where in the midst of secure in the routine of family dinners and predetermined television viewing, and where he experiences his first pre-pubescent pangs of sexuality. He takes us on a journey that describes how the variety series "Real People", Chippendales Dancers (a guess, though not named by name), a female mannequin and the internet all contributed to his sexual awakening; and all signs were leading him to the understanding that he was indeed gay.

Plagued with boy crushes and roommates from hell and general global angst about his life and where it should be leading, Thornton has a song for most every occasion. Armed with himself and a guitar, Thornton sings about wanting to know what these changes in his body and mind mean in songs like “Let there Be Light.” He describes how he succumbs to his carnal impulses in the song “Bible Study and Handjobs.” Finally, he wades through a sea of emotional indecision in the song “Hell and Back Again”.

Photo of Kevin Thornton courtesy of Chris Wage

Thornton’s performance was a really good one. Energetic and in good voice for the entire show, the singer’s story was a surprisingly upbeat one. Thornton’s musical recounts did not include the usual trauma associated with a coming out story. Our hero confronts a crisis of reconciling his religion with his sexuality and works or his internal struggles largely in solitude, embattles with his own deafening thoughts, and of course within his dreams. His was decidedly a coming of age story first, with a strong gay slant. The only thing this show truly lacks is eye contact with the audience. There was a missed opportunity in Thornton's retaining that fourth wall; the choice fights the organic intimacy of the venue. Unlike a theatrical stage piece where maintaining the illusion, and therefore the distance, is paramount, this show is confessional and personal and cries for audience engagement.

The music of the show was very much a nuanced companion to the narrative of Thornton’s story. Not overtly comic, the styles ranged from 50s Do-Wah to contemporary ballad to the simmering bass pulses of rock. Each number was in perfect concert with the context of the story arc without pandering for laughs or to the sentimentality of the moment. Thornton vocal performance was as varied as the songs themselves switching from southern sassy, to rich yet pleading falsetto quite reminiscent of a young Kenny Loggins.

Sex, Dreams and Self-Control offers a bit of everything for everyone. It is cleverly written, infused with great imagery and heart. The show is an affectionate stroll down memory lane to remind us of all the things we are trying t forget about the 1980s. Kevin Thornton relives the innocent and wonderment of a gay boy’s growing pain from the view of small town America.

Sex, Dreams and Self-Control makes its West Coast Premiere Engagement from April 3 thru 18th @:

@ Casita Del Campo Restaurant


Tickets: $10

Reservations: (323) 969-2530

Parental Advisory: Performance Includes Adult Content

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