A Guide to Second Date Sex: The messy world of second date anxiety

A Guide to Second Date Sex is now available to rent, buy or stream.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Based on her acclaimed Edinburgh Fringe Play of 2012, A Guide to Second Date Sex, Rachel Hiron’s directorial debut reflects its theatrical roots with pride. Here Hiron offers us a situation comedy that is quintessentially British in its awkwardness and humour, reflecting the deepest desires of two twenty-something adults keen to embrace the spark of a new relationship. However, that spark and longing for connection are also surrounded by anxiety, their friends piling on the pressure with less than helpful advice on what makes a second date work.

Laura (Alexandra Roach) lives with her mum following the collapse of a long term relationship with a man who turned out to be gay. Meanwhile, Ryan (George MacKay) has recently suffered the indignity of finding his girlfriend having sex with one of his best mates in the lounge. Both Ryan and Laura are desperate to move on, yet the ghosts of their past equally trap them, their confidence knocked as they search for someone new.

On a night out at a local club, Ryan and Laura randomly meet at the bar, with a spark of attraction leading to an awkward conversation, Tia Maria shots and some awful dancing. Both sense the beginning of something new in a haze of alcohol fumes and gibberish and arrange a more sober and controlled second date. But are Laura and Ryan ready to move on from the relationships of the past? And can either find the confidence to make a second date work without copious quantities of alcohol? After all, just how awkward can a second date be?

Hiron’s original Edinburgh Fringe production was based on actual interviews as she weaved each gender’s attitudes and anxieties into a delightful comedy of errors. But how does the play translate to the screen? With the help of a superb ensemble cast, A Guide to Second Date Sex essentially maintains the humour and social discussion held in the original play, with scenes that everyone, no matter their sexual orientation or age, can relate to. Here, Hiron portrays the complexity and anxiety of a world often portrayed on film as simple, romantic, or perfect with ease, ensuring that Ryan and Laura’s journey is messy, uncomfortable, and often disappointing.

Many will draw on the similarities to Fleabag in the situation comedy on offer. While A Guide to Second Date Sex never quite manages to reach the heights of the BBC Three comedy, it does provide us with a funny and beautifully performed slice of situation comedy.

Director: Rachel Hirons

Cast:  Naomi WillowAlexandra RoachGeorge MacKay, Michael Socha

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