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Is There Still Sex in the City?

  • Theater, Comedy
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Candace Bushnell in Is There Still Sex in the City?
Photograph: Courtesy Joan MarcusIs There Still Sex in the City?

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Theater review by Elysa Gardner

Sex and the City inspiration Candace Bushnell recently turned 63, but at her one-woman show Is There Still Sex in the City?, fans can party like it’s 1998. Before the show, a downstairs “Candi Bar” features a disco ball and fuchsia curtains that match the Manolo Blahniks Bushnell wears for her entrance; $18 Cosmopolitans are available inside the theater. The pre-curtain lineup of girl-power anthems includes “I Love Rock and Roll,” “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” and, most tellingly, “Material Girl.” As even Bushnell’s most ardent admirers might concede, the columnist-turned-author’s self-styled feminism has leaned awfully hard on brands and boys.

Inspired by her most recent book, Is There Still Sex in the City? charts Bushnell’s progress from a rising young writer making lousy relationship choices to a divorcée taking refuge in Sag Harbor and her coterie of loyal girlfriends (identified, naturally, as Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte). In a series of form-fitting costumes by Lisa Zinni, the well-preserved star recalls her triumphs and misadventures in a tone as light and frilly as Anna Louizos’s scenic design. A screen hanging over the stage showcases articles by and about Bushnell, along with clips from Sex and the City and numbered lessons that include pearls of wisdom such as “Men lie,” “People in relationships only see what they want to see” and—my personal favorite—“You can’t rely on a relationship for your happiness or a roof over your head.”

“Other people’s marriages aren’t as great as you think they are,” Bushnell teaches us, though one suspects that her skepticism about commitment and men stems from more than a string of rotten luck. Among the former beaux she describes are a much older writer who gives her his number at a book reading, an “I.A.B.”—Inappropriate Artist Boyfriend—and someone she identifies as Eurotrash, who’s “got a title and a castle.” The real-life Mr. Big, as described here, sounds about as charming and evolved as Donald Trump. Other people’s bad dating choices, it turns out, aren’t always as interesting as you think they are.

Still, it’s hard not to be at least a little touched by Bushnell’s indefatigably blithe spirit, which is exemplified in her breathless delivery as much as in the yummy décor and fashion. (Bushnell quips that she doesn’t know how many shoes she owns: “More than twenty, but less than Imelda Marcos?”) The play ends as it begins, with the author on the phone with her buddies, still chatting like teenagers about their exploits. Men may come and go, but gossip is forever.

Is There Still Sex in the City? Daryl Roth Theatre (Off Broadway). By Candace Bushnell. Directed by Lorin Latarro. With Bushnell. Running time: 1hr 30mins. No intermission. 

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Written by
Elysa Gardner


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