Neptune Theatre is airing its Sexy Laundry with a marriage comedy that borders on tragedy.

Alice (Sherry Smith) and Henry (William Vickers) have been married for 25 years, but that might be the end of it if something doesn’t re-spark the flames in their marital oven.

“It had been a happy marriage, but it’s in a rut,” Smith explains about Neptune’s latest production, which premieres tomorrow night.

The children have grown, but Alice worries her marriage hasn’t. “She wants to try to reignite it to see what’s there.”

So Alice buys a copy of Sex for Dummies and books a dirty weekend with Henry. Henry, who recently compared their marriage to an old recliner, is not turned on by the swank hotel, nor by the blindfolds and role playing. He likes comfortable.

“Alice isn’t ready to slow down and become a couch potato,” Smith says of her character.

When they were married, they were young, beautiful — and childless. “They’re missing that,” Smith says. “(The play’s) not just for married couples or people in a relationship. It’s for people who are in a place in their life where they feel that it’s stale. It’s that longing to want to bump it up; this can’t be all that’s left.”

Vancouver playwright Michele Riml’s story takes the couple to the brink of a breakup, but Smith won’t say whether they leave the hotel together. She does, however, hope couples in the audience will leave together. “One hope is that people will go home and have mad, passionate sex all night,” she proclaims.

Director Marcia Kash admits staging a dirty weekend in a family theatre poses challenges.

“It’s not tasteless. Hopefully, it’s funny and true,” she says.

Play’s the thing

Sexy Laundry runs from Friday to Feb. 14. Get your tickets at www.neptunetheatre.com or 429-7070.