Stage Door News

Niagara-on-the-Lake: “Sex”, a play by Mae West, begins previews at the Shaw Festival June 21

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Just shy of a century after her sold out Broadway run was branded an "obscene, indecent, immoral and impure drama" by a New York grand jury, Mae West’s Sex gets a rousing production at the Shaw Festival. Directed by Peter Hinton-Davis, this powerful melodrama begins in Montreal’s red light district of the 1920s, then shifts locations to Trinidad and New York City. Overflowing with trademark Mae West one-liners, and with its frank sexuality heightened by Hinton-Davis’s gender-bent casting, Sex begins previews at the Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatre on June 21st.

Margy LaMont (Diana Donnelly), a quick-witted, sharp-tongued unapologetic sex worker, has a weakness for seamen, but yearns for a better life. When her act to save a well-to-do woman (Fiona Byrne) from scandal is met with accusations instead of appreciation, she decides to follow the fleet, see the world and get rich. At one of the ports of call, she meets Jimmy Stanton (Julia Course), a wealthy young man who offers the promise of a better life. The trouble is, he doesn’t know the truth about her profession leading to a culminating climax where Margy’s past and present unavoidably collide.

Eo Sharp’s set, Bonnie Beecher’s lighting design and Ryan deSouza’s music direction provide the perfect backdrop to the various locales of Margy’s travels, while Sharp’s costumes have a distinctly 1920s influence. This production also features intimacy and fight direction by Siobhan Richardson and movement direction by Alexis Milligan.

Sex is on stage at the Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatre (10 Queen’s Parade, Niagara-on-the-Lake) from June 21 - October 13. The Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatre is sponsored by Paradigm Capital Inc.

Recommended for ages 14+. Approximate running time: 2 hours and 30 minutes, including one intermission.

The Shaw Festival’s 2019 season is on stage April 6 through December 22 featuring a playbill that includes The Horse and His Boy, Brigadoon, The Ladykillers, Man and Superman with Don Juan in Hell, Rope, Getting Married, The Russian Play, Cyrano de Bergerac, The Glass Menagerie, Sex, VictorySecret Theatre, A Christmas Carol and Holiday Inn. Tickets for the 2019 Festival season are available through the Box Office at 1-800-511-SHAW and online at

Photo: Mae West in I’m No Angel. © 1933 Paramount Pictures.