11412132_900680583331043_6937434722133787930_n I loved Jeff Gould’s smash 2002 hit It’s Just Sex when I finally got to see L.A.’s longest-running comedy in its return engagement last year.

Gould’s 2014 follow-up, Is There Sex After Marriage?, gives audiences more of that first play’s laughter and raunch, though with considerably less of the perceptiveness and depth that made It’s Just Sex such a winner.

Following last year’s seven-month run at Studio City’s Two Roads Theatre, Is There Sex After Marriage? now visits Hollywood Fringe, and despite a bare-bones production design that eliminates the professional sheen evident in 2014 production stills, six talented performers guarantee quite a few laughs on the Theatre Asylum stage.

Like It’s Just Sex, Is There Sex After Marriage? opens with a cocktail party for six married friends, one that begins to reveal cracks in the marriage of host couple Roger and Sherry (Jeff Witzke and Challen Cates).

We learn more of what ails the decade-and-a-half marrieds once best friends Mindy and Joe (Monica Young and Vince Duvall) and Zach and Beth (Darren O’Hare and Lisa Marie Summerscales) have departed. (Not surprisingly, it has to do with sex, or rather the lack of it, in their conjugal life.)

When Roger and Sherry’s unwitting pair of simultaneous flings (one in their living room, the other on their sofa) places our wedded protagonists’ marriage in jeopardy, a party seems to offer the couple a chance to forgive and forget—or at least temporarily so.

Unfortunately (or fortunately as the case may be), the fête turns out to be a swingers’ event, and all bets are off.

Though Is There Sex After Marriage?’s many scene changes do tend to go on and on, Gould’s direction is lively and his entire cast do terrific work.

Witze and Cates recall Dick York and Elizabeth Montgomery, had Darren and Samantha decided to swing, and their costars shine too in multiple roles each, with special snaps to Summerscales for playing plain-and-nerdy as believably as she plays gorgeous-and-hot.

Ultimately, though Gould’s latest sex farce doesn’t match his fabulous first, it does make for an entertaining evening at the Fringe.

–Steven Stanley
June 24, 2105