A Womb of One’s Own
The Old Joint Stock Theatre
Presented by Wonderbox, this new feminist production will certainly raise some eyebrows. Not one for the easily offended but certainly has a lot to say for those who are willing to listen. A very thought provoking piece which is sure to start a discussion and debate.
Babygirl is an 18-year- old student, brought up in a strict Catholic household by two old ladies her great aunt Mildred and her grandmamie.
This dark comedy is performed by four young women, each voicing the words and thoughts of Babygirl as well as the other characters that interact with her on her journey of sexual discovery.
Claire Rammelkamp, Carla Garratt, Larissa Pinkham Danica Corns, as the cast and creatives , are brave and adventurous in their performance and writing.
Corns, incidentally, is a graduate of Birmingham's highly regarded Stage 2 Youth Theatre which has become a training ground for a number of youngsters now making a career on the professional stage.
Laughs start immediately as Babygirl expresses her desire to lose her virginity (‘how am I ever going to get a sausage in my roll?!), discusses the joys and hazards of masturbation with a hairbrush and the constant feeling of her every move being watched by a man with long hair. After all she was brought up to believe that God see’s everything!
At last the opportunity arises as she moves to university and enters into the spirit of fresher’s week. Partying, alcohol, smoking and SEX are all on the menu.
In a desperate bid to ‘do the deed’ she engages in one night of sexual activity with ‘blindfold man’. (Why is he called blindfold man? You will have to see the show to find the answer to that.) However the encounter albeit fulfilling her goal does not fulfil her desires and she embarks on the search for something more stimulating. She finds it in the form of a fellow female student, but the relationship is short lived when Babygirl discovers she is pregnant. Not having anyone to talk to (we are told abruptly in a not sure whether to laugh or cry moment, that her mother is dead) she rapidly spirals into an emotional wreck.
The storytelling of her experiences is in parts ‘in your face’ shocking, whilst in others is approached sensitively but always with a full range of emotion.
Controversial issues such as abortion, sexuality and religion are explored in some depth and historical references are used to consider the ways in which society responds to these issues. Clever reference to ‘Call the Midwife’ adds perspective to this challenging and exciting piece of physical theatre.
An engaging and emotionally charged production, very well performed, observed and interpreted by all four women.
This production certainly doesn’t end at the ‘final curtain’ you will be discussing the issues raised for quite some time afterwards. Highly recommended, if you are up for the challenge.
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Rosemary Manjunath and Elizabeth Smith.