Sensitive Guys, about two student groups in an American college is currently making its Australian premiere at the Kings Cross Theatre. The men’s group are learning new modes of behaviour in their gender relations to ensure equality and avoid denigrating women (and worse). The women’s group are mostly a source of support for women who experience harassment and assault. 

It would seem though that the more procedures and support groups are ostensibly promoted, the opposite actually occurs: the vast lumbering procedures put into place for addressing gender issues tend to slow matters down, rarely helping at all. Sensitive Guys brings to light this disconnect and acknowledges the difficulties, especially when the Men’s Peer Education Group is so sparsely attended.

The problem with the group is that it is voluntary, and many men are not at all happy about losing their privilege, privilege that has been handed down from one generation to the next. 

A large ensemble cast including Natasha Cheng, Nancy Denis, Alex Malone, Shell McKenzie and Samm Ward play the young women and the men in the groups, while Alex Malone also plays a university administrator welcoming potential new admissions to the illustrious (and fictional) Watson College. 

The cast are as entertaining as they are impeccable in their timing, riffing off each other while working through the issues. Writer Kaufman’s intent, to illuminate how the subtleties of entitlement can meld together and form a greater culture of entitlement, is laid bare here with nicely refined direction by Blazey Best and an intensely focussed cast. 

 Director: Blazey Best

Featuring: Natasha Cheng, Nancy Denis, Alex Malone, Shell McKenzie and Samm Ward.

Above image by Clare Hawley

Sensitive Guys is presented by Cross Pollinate Productions and on until 11 May, for tickets see: http://www.kingsxtheatre.com/

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