Stage Review: Alicia Dattner’s ‘The Oy of Sex’

The Oy of Sex, at the Marsh Theater through January 18, is the newest solo show from standup comedian and spiritualist Alicia Dattner, whose previous show Eat, Pray, Laugh! told the story of her travels in India.

In Oy, Dattner turns her comedic gaze on her own sexuality as she takes us through the history of her sexual development with hilarious results. Starting out as a shy girl obsessed with spin the bottle and the possible kisses it offered, Alicia soon discovers her amazing power of (as she calls it) “fuckability.” From there, it’s a whirlwind of hook-ups, make-outs, and all manner of sexual misadventures as she deals with the gap between her desire for love and intimacy and her paralyzing fear of commitment.

After a rejection at Burning Man finds her in a particularly fragile state of mind (one made all the more fragile by the magic mushrooms and ecstasy she had taken), she realizes that she has been suffering from a love addiction (don’t worry, I didn’t know it was a thing either). The addiction caused her to compulsively seek out intimacy without the hope for fulfillment, and it had alienated her from her closest friends. Fortunately for her, there is a way out. In a word: spirituality. She realizes that the hole she was trying to fill with men could only truly be filled with a higher power.

This is the real take home value of the show, as Dattner earnestly encourages the audience to learn from her story and find their own paths to spirituality. Spreading this message of light-hearted spiritualism through comedy seems to be her raison d’être, as she has also spearheaded the Spiritual Comedy Festival, an online collection of spirit-minded comedians meant to show that the pursuit of enlightenment doesn’t have to be too serious. This in addition to her being a certified laughter yoga instructor.

Dattner herself is a delight to watch, and her enthusiasm is intoxicating. She is an extremely animated and high-energy performer and really owns the space available. She paces the stage, she climbs on stools, she gets down on the floor. It seems like she cannot be contained. But even with this larger-than-life energy she still manages to come off as a bit shy and reserved.

She makes excellent use of the intimacy of the Marsh—almost seems like she’s telling a secret to the audience that she wouldn’t tell just anybody, and direct interaction with the crowd creates a very involved experience.

Dattner’s stories of manic love and uncertainty will ring true for any 21st century romantic who fears loneliness almost as much as they fear commitment, and her humor keeps the show from being too jarring in its directness. If you’re searching for raunchy fun with a positive message, The Oy of Sex delivers.

When: Thursdays: 8:00PM Fridays: 8:00PM Saturdays: 8:30PM
Through January 18th
Where: The Marsh San Francisco Upstairs Studio
1062 Valencia St, San Francisco
Tickets: $20-$35 sliding scale
$50/100 Reserved Seating