There are things to like about this comedy from writer/director Robert Gillespie, not least a fine central turn from Stuart Sessions as Michael Smith, an elderly widower who decides to satisfy his physical needs by purchasing a mailorder bride.
The set-up is strong: the loquacious Michael is a twinkly eyed, unworldly academic type who regales us with a mirthful discourse on monogamy in the animal kingdom that turns out to be an elaborate justification for buying
Maria (Clare Cameron).
When his imported Argentinian arrives there is promise in the initial clash between Michael’s hyperintellectual naivety and the awful realities experienced by Maria, who lost her virginity to a rapist and has been trapped in the sex industry ever since. Yet ultimately the play’s sexual politics come across as unforgivably callous, mostly because it ducks every issue about rape, trafficking and prostitution it raises with a risible postmodern cop-out ending.
Sessions’s oddball charisma and excellent comic timing cover a multitude of sins. But ultimately this leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.