Fringe Review: “PolySHAMory” explores the assets and liabilities of a polyamorous relationship


Kate Robard in “PolySHAMory” (Photo Credit: Rex Lott)

Kate Robard is back in Montreal with Really Spicy Opera and her latest one-woman show PolySHAMory. Following her previous critically acclaimed show Ain’t That Rich, she returns from the US to tell us about her flirt with polyamory and how it eventually led to her divorce from her husband – or her PP (Primary Partner) as she has since learned to call him with the help of her poly-therapist and “the bible of polyamory”, The Ethical Slut.

The show opens with Kate’s upbringing in rural Texas, the early loss of a parent and the cardinal rule her mother instilled in her at an early age which could be briefly summarized as: when it comes to marriage it is money first and love can be found on the side. Kate, however, is lucky and falls in love with a man who is not only incredibly wealthy but also shares her budding interest in sexual exploration with other partners. As newlyweds the couple moves to San Francisco, where, for a while, the two live happy and monogamous married bliss.

Robard’s storytelling is passionate, quick and witty and her stage presence radiates confidence and just enough vulnerability. The juxtaposition of her under-privileged childhood and over-privileged married life will remain a constant theme as the story unfolds. She takes us along on her humorous journey from privately sharing kinky text-messages with her husband, to discovering the richness of sexpositive literature and ultimately opening up their relationship to other partners (or paramours, in the terminology of her guide book The Ethical Slut).

Kate Robard in “PolySHAMory” (Photo Credit: Rex Lott)

Along with new partners, jealousy enters their relationship but our protagonist chooses to ignore such discomfort in order to make this relationship experiment work. We get the sense that this is more important to her than the notion of being “boring”. While her husband is away on business trips and increasingly frequent visits to his girlfriend, Kate finds her own paramour in San Francisco who introduces her to the exciting new world of sex parties. Robard’s impersonations of those participants, such as the “university professor by day, sex-goddess by night” provide some expertly timed comedic relief to the progressively dense atmosphere.

Kate eventually agrees to leave San Francisco and her paramour behind to move to New York and in with her husband and his significant other-other. With the Big Apple as backdrop the narrative becomes fully reminiscent of an episode of Sex in the City about polyamory and unsatisfying threesomes. Here Kate reconnects with her childhood friends who has since become a successful model and faces her own challenges with her model-boyfriend. The two women provide support for each other and perhaps help each other realize what relationship model they are more suited for. The cathartic and heartfelt finale then lets us see Robard’s more serious side and talent as a dramatic actor.

Everyone who still yearns for the laughter and tears and the glamour of Sex and the City and anyone who would like to hear a personal account of the drawbacks of polyamory.

Drink suggestion:
A pitcher of Cosmopolitan for the thruple on table 5

Really Spicy Opera presents “PolySHAMory
at the 29th St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival

Performances: June 7 – 12, 2019
Venue: 01 – Le Ministère
4521 Saint-Laurent, Montréal, H2T 1R2
Admission: $5 – 12 | Ages 16+
Box Office:
514.849.FEST (3378)

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Check out all our other 70+ reviews 
from this year’s fest on our Fringe page!

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