Wednesday, 4 February 2009

The Vagina Monologues - Darlington Civic Theatre

The Vagina Monologues By Eve Ensler
Director: Tim Sheader
Reviewer: Ian Cain

As one of a mere sprinkling of men in the audience for The Vagina Monologues, I must confess that I initially felt rather like a fish out of water. However, once the house lights were dimmed and the performance began, my self-consciousness quickly dissipated as I listened intently to a series of fascinating monologues about the most intimate part of the female form.

The production is based on interviews, conducted by Eve Ensler, with more than two hundred women of various ages, races, religions and sexual orientations and it has been translated into 45 languages and performed in every major city around the globe by some of the world’s most amazing women.

Former cast members have included Jerry Hall, Rula Lenska, Honor Blackman, Anita Dobson, Lesley Joseph, Su Pollard, Elaine C. Smith and Sharon Osbourne. The current tour stars Jenny Eclair, Jennifer Ellison and Wendi Peters and they are a truly talented trio.

As you might imagine, The Vagina Monologues is marketed as ‘the ultimate girls’ night out’ and, indeed, it is. Many of the stories conveyed are outrageous, hilarious, risqué, and uplifting, yet others are poignant, emotional, tragic and harrowing. They are all profound, powerful and heartfelt.

Jenny Eclair is wonderful and she uses her undisputed skills as a comedienne to her full advantage as she brings the audience to a crescendo of raucous hilarity with her dead-pan expressions and lack of inhibitions. Wendi Peters is equally as effective, using her delightfully effervescent personality to optimum effect. Jennifer Ellison, at times somewhat overshadowed by her co-stars, comes into her own when she delivers the emotionally-charged and gut-wrenching story of a young Bosnian girl who was sexually assaulted and brutalised by a group of invading soldiers.

Although the show appeals, primarily, to a female audience, men should not totally dismiss it. If your other half wants you to go along with her then, perhaps you should. You’ll probably enjoy yourself, might even learn a thing or two and will earn loads of brownie points, too!
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