The words ‘low-budget British sex comedy’ are enough to strike fear into the hardiest of hearts. But fear not – ‘Bonobo’ is well shot, breezily scripted and superbly performed by a cast of TV stalwarts. Tessa Peake-Jones (Raquel from ‘Only Fools and Horses’, if your memory stretches that far) plays Judith, a suburban mum troubled by the fact that her previously upstanding daughter has been inducted into local ‘sex cult’ Bonobo House (named for the infamously priapic monkey species). Storming in to retrieve her precious girl, Judith finds a largely benign houseful of hippy dropouts led by ageing flower child Anita (Josie Lawrence), who shut out the real world through a combination of quack therapy and random coupling. There are no big surprises – Judith learns to stop worrying and love alternative lifestyles, while it turns out that, shock horror, rampant sex isn’t a substitute for ‘proper’ emotions – but it’s all put together with wit and charm, and a pleasing absence of irony or judgement.
Cast and crew