Couple Realizes Sex Is Good For You

Sheila (Varda Appleton) tries to seduce her husband Al (Richard Osborn), who is reluctant because the last time he made love, months ago, he had a heart attack.

A funny, thoughtful look at middle-aged life and love, “Sex Is Good for You” contains fine acting and writing as it presents a couple discovering their new “normal” after the husband’s surgery.

Al Golden (Richard Osborn) is recovering from heart bypass surgery, feeling out of place and emasculated at work and home. His wife Sheila (Varda Appleton), however, is frisky and ready for action after two months’ recuperation. Can Al and Sheila reconnect and discover that spark again?

Playwright Art Shulman employs hilarious, broad humor to examine middle age malaise and insecurity, as the characters juggle work and life transitions. Health issues rock both Al’s work and relationship with his wife, threatening his marriage, while Sheila worries about her looks. They both fear facing the difficult issues. Quips, sight gags, and physical humor fine tune the proceedings.

Director Thyra Lees Smith keeps things moving with fine timing and energy by the cast, enhancing the sight gags.

Lead actors Osborn and Appleton bring conviction, thoughtfulness and excellent chemistry to their roles. Osborn gives an engaging, understated performance as the puzzled, worried Al, and Appleton’s assertive yet insecure Sheila exhibits strong passion and expressiveness.

Unfortunately, Doug Agnew as their son Craig, and Hannah Kaplan as nurse Debbie, seem lost in a different universe, too broad and wide eyed, almost to the point of caricature.

Fine acting and humorous situations make “Sex Is Good for You” an entertaining evening out.

“Sex Is Good for You” plays Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. through March 20 at the Secret Rose Theatre, 11246 Magnolia Blvd. in North Hollywood. Tickets cost $22, $17 for seniors and $10 for students under 26 with ID, with discount rates of $16 for groups of 10 or more. Call (818) 782-4254, or visit www.secretrose.com for information and reservations.


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