Bad Sex with Bud Kemp

In this amusing chronicle of single life in Manhattan, and in particular the dating game, Sandra Tsing Loh, as a 31-year-old, gainfully employed professional woman, reviews a desperate three-year quest for the eligible bachelor. The profiles are illustrated in a series of titled sketches, which Loh presents in an agreeable, briskly paced monologue.

In this amusing chronicle of single life in Manhattan, and in particular the dating game, Sandra Tsing Loh, as a 31-year-old, gainfully employed professional woman, reviews a desperate three-year quest for the eligible bachelor. The profiles are illustrated in a series of titled sketches, which Loh presents in an agreeable, briskly paced monologue.

The title character of the opening segment of “Bad Sex With Bud Kemp” is a “perceptively inert,” lanky marketing manager with a smile so sad that he appears to have been “flogged by life.” Hardly a date, Sandra watches him pitch at a summer softball game. As she surveys his strong capable hands, he becomes a possible contender for sexual pleasures. “Horny, in a confused primeval way,” Bud turns out to be a talky, self-centered nerd who falls asleep following a clumsy session of groping, patting and massaging.

From the Higher Degree dating service, Sandra is coupled with Robert Blair, a Yale graduate architect and a Ralph Fiennes look-alike. “Cappuccino Man” reveals Robert as an opera buff, whose West End Avenue apartment, with its “tasteful art prints and viny plants,” boasts a “dizzying vision of cleanliness.”

When Sandra enters the pristine bathroom, Debussy strains underscore the moment. Expecting to hear a heavenly choir, “the force of gravity buckles my knees and I’m ready to grovel at his feet,” Sandra swoons.

In “Hot Tubbin’,” Sandra goes on the Internet to an adult chat room for a productive weekend. Posing as a free-spirited Swedish nudist, she is lured by Mr. Montana to a log cabin. At 34, hormones are hitting their sexual peak, and in “Monde del Box,” she meets a Weehawken boxer “with Antonio Banderas cheekbones” and has a four-week affair of night and day sex.

Loh has an engaging presence. She is attractive, personable and expressively witty. Her keen observations of behavioral patterns make the men in her life very real, and if the humor doesn’t quite bring belly laughs, there is certainly an abundance of brittle and warming chuckles.

David Schweizer has staged the piece on a bare stage against a peg-board wall , with a minimum of props. Loh needs little else. Her big-city savvy says it all.

Bad Sex with Bud Kemp

Second Stage Theatre; 108 seats; $ 32.50 top

Production: NEW YORK -- A Second Stage Theatre presentation of a play in one act, written and performed by Sandra Tsing Loh. Directed by David Schweizer.

Creative: Set and lighting , Kevin Adams; costumes, Peter Cohen; sound, Robert Murphy; stage manager, Rebecca C. Monroe. Artistic director, Carole Rothman. Opened Mayand reviewed May 3, 1998 at the Second Stage. Running time: 1 HOUR, 15 MIN.

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