Only one slight complaint: fairy cakes with pinked iced vaginas. I cannot be persuaded to eat genital confectionary.
Other than the suspect sweet treats Nottingham University’s version of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues was an orgasmic success. Ignoring the amateur dramatic pitfalls of poor sounding and awkward seating, there is little that would discourage me from seeing this again.
Arriving into The Den packed with a very mixed audience, and not just girlfriends who had dragged their significant others along but groups of men and elderly couples, I could only find a seat right at the back of the hall which consequently meant hearing and sight were slightly impaired. The acting compères already on stage chatting on a red silk sofa instantly set the tone of the night; intimate secret sharing and affronting revelations.
Having been warned that this play was “literally just about vaginas” I was uneasy when I learnt from the programme that the first monologue was entitled Hair. I wasn’t eased from my discomfort throughout the monologues – reminded of it even more when by the ninth monologue I was, along with the rest of the audience, shouting “Cunt!” It’s okay though, don’t be appalled, not all women find that word offensive and apparently Harriet Olins finds it liberating. She received a huge applause upon her stage exit.
It was extremely hard not to treat the monologues as the personal experiences of the women performing them. Which can only be the achievement of the actresses, especially the performances of Hatty Preston (The Women Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy) and Ramani Rajaratnam (2010 Spotlight Monologue). The latter definitely stole a few tears from audience and the former’s hilarious act most definitely got the biggest ovation of the night.
The sincere undertone of the night was of course V-Day’s spotlight on the abuse of the women in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The variation in comedy and seriousness throughout the play was a stark reminder of the performances intention. The show did credit to the charity’s work.
By Alyce Biddle