In the aftermath of her failed relationship, Debbie (Elise Wilson) is trying work out where it all went wrong when she finds herself dwelling on the sex-ed lessons she received from Mr Robnoskis back in Year Six. Comparing periods to puppies who occasionally pee on the floor, he inadvertently taught her that sex is about procreation and anatomical gyrations rather than open communication or sexual pleasure. And so she takes herself on a journey to unpack everything it is that she knows about the birds and the bees.
Cookies and Cream is a fun little play about the sex-education, both formal and informal, that we receive in our formative years and how that comes to shape the nature of our sexual relationships as we transition into adulthood. The show leans hard into the awkwardness of millennial-era teenage sexuality – the Blue Light Discos, YouTube makeout tutorials, Cosmo sex tips, and being made to demonstrate the enshrouding of an unripe banana with a Durex condom – in order to wring plenty of laughs from the snappy script.
Cookies and Cream is also brought to life thanks to well-realised performances, naturalistic writing, and excellent production values. The cast works incredibly well to recreate the inherent goofiness of adolescence and the excited jitters of sex and dating. I was particularly impressed with Christopher Moro's ensemble performances: his complete transitions from Travis 'heart-throb' Meyers, to Debbie's footy-obsessive big-brother Ricky, to the dorky vice principal, were an absolute delight.
The message is a solid one: understanding and communication are paramount in establishing healthy sexual relationships, and that we do children a massive disservice when we fail to educate them properly on the wherefores of sexuality, anatomy, birth control and sexual health. But I was a bit surprised that the play didn't make much attempt to explore issues of coercion, deception or assault. Sexual danger, in Cookies and Cream, is the possibility of your partner disclosing an asphyxiation kink in the middle of the deed, rather than over cupcakes beforehand, but there's a lack of any examination of the erosion of consent that can occur in the midst of an otherwise healthy tryst.
This 'cuming of age' tale is lively and cleverly-realised with lots of pitch-perfect absurdist touches and imaginative scenes of outright silliness. The tale would undoubtedly find an excellent reception with high-schoolers and teenagers, who would be scandalised by the masturbation scenes, but it's also just as entertaining and outrageous for the older crowd. It's just a shame that, as Mr Robnoskis skirts around the topic of sexual pleasure, this show skirts around the topic of sexual consent.