The Vagina Monologues

Thu 9th – Sat 11th February 2012


Aakash Balani

at 10:49 on 10th Feb 2012



Reading the title, you probably would have braced yourself, but really -a lot of bracing is the pre-condition before you watch The Vagina Monologues (TVM). The play is about femininity – the word 'vagina' is used as a euphemism for a source of empowerment. The play advocates making the word 'vagina' more mentionable, in politically correct society.

18 monologues. There were tales of housewives, a 72 year old woman, lesbians and sex-workers all funny and engaging, but there were also tales of women who were rape victims from war and the Congo. Disturbing, heart-wrenching tales of the abuse and torture these women suffered, raped with guns, sticks, broken glass, burned, sewn up and more, these moments bought the audience to stunned silence and shock.

The performances of all the actors in the play is truly commendable but Bria May Thomas and Jo Murray deserve a special mention for their performances. A strong script with a compelling narrative still requires to be backed up by an excellent performance and there is no doubt that the actors did complete justice to Eve Ensler's controversial piece of work.

Bria May Thomas in the monologue, ' 'What if I told you I didn't have a vagina ' gives a very powerful performance, focusing on the terrible fate of hundreds of thousands of women and girls in the Congo who have been raped and sexually tortured. The language is graphic, the tale is shocking and the gripping performance truly had a effect – a nauseating uneasiness swept over the audience, I felt the bile rising in me. There is much to be said about the versatility of Bria who just a few minutes later in the monologue 'Reclaiming the cunt', which although short had some people in the audience shouting out 'Cunt!' transforming the word into something powerful sexy and delicious. By truly attacking her dialogues with no inhibitions, she finds a a rhythmic energy and pacing that builds into a frenzied climax.

Due credit must go to the director, Frankie Arnull who manages to encapsulate her audience by keeping the hour and half play all fast paced, sobering, hilarious and keeping the overt 'cringeness' almost constant. The performances of her cast also reflect her hard work to bring out such great performances. Also the use of the lighting was very good, the pink haze used at the appropriate times at the right levels.

As far as comic value goes, Jo Murray in the monologue called 'The Woman who Love to Make Vaginas Happy' was fantastic. She is out to seduce the audience, dominate them and make them squirm in their seats, while managing to keep the mood light hearted. At the end of the monologue, she has a symphony of moans with ended with the audience in peals of laughter clutch The moans are not only funny but also sound real, including my personal favourite, the Oxford moan – keep an eye out for that.

The play and the performances are powerful enough to humble men busy 'Liking' Unilads photos on facebook. Watching the play requires a certain amount of manning up ( !) – but definitely not to be missed.


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