So the signs weren’t necessarily good for this ‘TV first’ in which three couples have sex in a studio-bound box before emerging to discuss their experiences with Mariella Frostrup and a panel of sexperts. Initially, ‘Sex Box’ is peculiar and inadvertently hilarious. ‘They’re free to leave the Sex Box at any time,’ booms Frostrup, prompting the thought that the volunteers should consider themselves lucky not to have been imprisoned; pounding, licking and sucking away for as long as it took them to reach a contractually compulsory mutual climax.
But actually, once it calms down and gets over itself, ‘Sex Box’ is way better than it has any right to be. The three couples (one straight and young, one gay, one straight and slightly more mature) are sweet and open, and the advice and discussions are sincere and potentially useful – and not just for the couples involved. A surprisingly earnest, likeable and good-hearted affair.
Four to Eight
Aldwych is a funny old corner of London. I’ve been there hundreds of times, and seem to navigate it differently on each visit. Is this Drury Lane? Oh no, it’s the next one. What’s this one, then? Catherine Street. Never heard of it. Businesses must worry about repeat trade here, in case you never find them again. For restaurants, it’s probably academic: so much of their custom is from tourists and theatregoers in the world of the long-running musical. Four to Eight is on one of the spokes radiating from the gyratory’s north side, as you head up towards Covent Garden. In a handsome, wedge-shaped space, it’s light and glassy: it looks vaguely ‘contemporary’. And maybe that’s its problem. Four to Eight promises ‘beautiful, simple food’, which is a noble pursuit. Most of what we ate managed one or other, but rarely both. A small plate of slow-poached egg with chicken-skin crisp, cod roe and broccoli was mostly successful. It was certainly beautiful, with a delicate rosemary crumb. But the taramsalata consistency of the roe wasn’t that nice. Bottarga would have delivered a bit more punch, or maybe just leave it out altogether? Courgette flower with goat’s cheese was better: both pretty and straightforward. A main of black ink linguine with clams and cuttlefish was over-oily, which made the pasta slovenly. Though there were clamshells aplenty, their former inhabitants proved more elusive, shiftily skulking around the edges and unable to account for the whereabouts of half their n
Venue says: “Serving cocktails, wines, steaks, pastas and modern Italian fare all day, every day till late. Join us in the heart of the theatre district!”