Melbourne Fringe Festival Review: Appropriate Kissing for All Occasions (Performances until September 30th)

A show title can make or break the moment a viewer picks your show in an epic Fringe line-up. Well, Appropriate Kissing for All Occasions certainly caught my attention and it was everything I wanted and expected. The 60-minute work is broken up into two 30-minute short pieces, with the second titled to heat you up and cool you down. Both come from ReAction Theatre, written by David Finnigan and Isab Martinez, and directed by Louise Howlett.

Appropriate Kissing for All Occasions is a hilarious exploration into the art of kissing. Dr Toni Stevenson-Smith is an intimacy coach and sex therapist who clearly has some pent up issues of her own dealing with a pretty bad break-up. As her teachings take shape she starts to unravel and it is utterly brilliant. Who knows if this character is based on someone real, but every female can relate to her in some way. Bring some tissues cause this will certainly make you cry-laugh.

As Dr Stevenson-Smith unravels the dos and don’ts of kissing, audience participation is what brings them to life. Yes, you heard me. There was 100% genuine audience participation and strangers kissing Dr Stevenson-Smith. The low down of a first kiss, french kissing, the art of using tongue, pashing, public transport kisses, public displays of affection, and that intense farewell kiss were all dispelled and you know what, I actually learned a thing or two. Whether you head along with your partner or some friends, you’ll definitely take something from it. Practise when you get home even!

Part one had the audience on a high and unfortunately part two to heat you up and cool you down, missed the mark. It was a very unclear storyline with characters talking to their subconscious or being shadowed by them. It also dealt with some pretty intense issues regarding sexuality and sexual orientation. I’d encourage the writers to workshop this piece and consider it as a stand alone work; it just isn’t a suitable match for Appropriate Kissing for All Occasions. 

For final tickets and more info, head here.

The reviewer attended the show on Wednesday September 27th.