The Vagina Monologues

Birmingham Hippodrome

****

Eve Ensler's Vagina Monologues returned to the Birmingham Hippodrome with a new line-up and a slightly updated collection of stories.  

There was an air of excitement amongst the almost exclusively female audience as the show opened and they were not disappointed. 

The show is based on interviews, carried out by Ensler, with hundreds of women of all ages from around the world.  They were asked such questions as ‘if your vagina could speak what would it say? and ‘what would it wear?' which opened up conversation with the interviewees.

The revealing responses form the basis of the laugh out-loud (sometimes side-achingly) funny and, at times, heart-rending monologues which are always thought-provoking.     

We discover the vagina is known by a multitude of names including coochie snorcher. The monologues are delivered with wit; sensitively, non-judgementally and informatively touching on topics such as lesbian love, female genital mutilation and birth.  

The staging is simple.  The three talented raconteurs, Zaraah Abrahams (Waterloo Road), Louisa Lytton (Eastenders, The Bill)  and Wendi Peters (Coronation Street) sit on high stools facing the audience throughout.   

The show is not quite all talk and no action though, as Lytton provided a very funny, energetic and enthusiastic performance of the ‘moans' that women make during sex. (And she does this 7 nights a week!!) 

TEARS OF LAUGHTER

Peters struck a cord with every woman in the house and brought tears of laughter to our eyes with My Angry Vagina talking about indignities suffered throughout womanhood such as dry tampons and, relax ladies, internal examinations. 

Benjamin's delivery of the account of the horrific rape of a Bosnian woman, and her village, was very moving, highlighting the terrible abuse and violence experienced by many women in the world. 

The audience are coaxed to join in with, and randomly repeat throughout the show, a ‘clit fact'; that nature has blessed the female of the species with the clitoris, an organ designed exclusively for pleasure which has twice as many nerves as the penis.  

The show closed to a hearty appreciation and the amazing threesome returned to take their bows with red boas draped symbolically around their necks.  

Everyone took away something different from the show, but my octogenarian companion enjoyed the show, it was very funny but she felt there could be more UK characterisations and the v-word was a bit too repetitive.  She did also comment that more information should be included about v-day, the global charity stopping violence against women and girls, which is supported by the show (http://vdayuk.org/).

The show is written by a woman for women, but don't let that put you off chaps.  If the reaction from the chap behind me is anything to go by, he enjoyed the show just as much as the ladies. To 07-11-11 

Lynda Ford  

Home Hippodrome   Reviews A-Z Reviews by Theatre