Tag Archives: Candice Weaver

Rejoicing at her Wondrous Vulva
★★★★★

Ovalhouse

Rejoicing at her Wondrous Vulva

Rejoicing at her Wondrous Vulva the Young Woman Applauded Herself

Ovalhouse

Reviewed – 13th May 2019

★★★★★

 

“will no doubt provide every viewer with a new perspective on the world”

 

Rejoicing At Her Wondrous Vulva The Young Woman Applauded Herself is a frank exploration of female sexuality, self-love and patriarchal expectations directed by Donnacadh O’Briain. Brain/Ego (Bella Heesom) and Clitoris/Appetite (Sara Alexander) battle it out for top spot in the female protagonist’s sex life while the former slowly beats the second into societal submission. The clitoris does not understand why she is seen as dirty and disgusting while the brain also often struggles to comprehend the flawed cultural logic she applies to her own sexual desire.

The play explores snippets of the young woman’s sexual growth from discovering masturbation to entering an unfulfilling relationship with a man who sees her as nothing more than a sex object. The protagonist learns that her sexuality and pleasure are embarrassing at a young age when schoolboys laugh at the idea of performing oral sex on a girl. Familiar phrases about female sexuality periodically flash up on a screen at the back of the stage – Virginity is precious. Vaginas are dirty. Sex is for men.

The play is interspersed with scenes of graceful movement (Liz Ranken) in which Alexander nudges and bites at Heesom as if a lioness. This theme is expanded in a meditation led by Alexander during the show where she uses the raw animalism and beauty of the lioness as an analogy for female sexuality. The screen at the back of the stage too shows the face of a lioness to emphasise this.

After the performance, Heesom and Alexander invite the audience to attend an open discussion to reflect on the issues raised in the play. The experiences enacted in the piece are revealed to be near universal amongst the female audience from being told vaginas smell like fish to feeling the need to satisfy a partner on a special occasion. Heesom and Alexander handle the group conversation with great care and sensitivity, and it is an appreciated and moving addition to the show.

The set (Elizabeth Harper) is well considered and helps to emphasise how natural female sexuality is. Heesom and Alexander move around a beautiful (lady) garden with flowers and plants hanging from the ceiling. The screen shows animated flowers growing and dying to reflect the revelations made on stage. The ground is covered in dark pebbles and a rectangular pool of water runs along the back of the stage. A wooden swing hangs in the back-left corner and reminds the audience that these harmful ideas about female sexuality are fed to us since childhood.

Heesom and Alexander are both stars and their chemistry is incredible. The two women move effortlessly between witty back and forth as Brain and Clitoris to sensual moments wrestling on the ground. Heesom’s final speech as the societally battered Clitoris is particularly powerful as she strips off her clothes and attacks the patriarchal constructs that have made female sexuality shameful. Rejoicing At Her Wondrous Vulva The Young Woman Applauded Herself will no doubt provide every viewer with a new perspective on the world.

 

Reviewed by Flora Doble

Photography by David Monteith-Hodge

 

Ovalhouse

Rejoicing at her Wondrous Vulva the Young Woman Applauded Herself

Ovalhouse until 26th May

 

Previously reviewed at this venue:
Medea Electronica | ★★★ | January 2018
Random Selfies | ★★★ | March 2018
This Restless State | ★★★ | March 2018
Standard:Elite | ★★★★★ | May 2018
Austerity & Me | ★★★★ | June 2018
The Croydon Avengers | ★★★ | June 2018
Undersong | ★★★★★ | June 2018
A Pocketful of Bread | ★★★ | September 2018

 

Click here to see more of our latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com

 

Vulvarine

Vulvarine
★★★★★

VAULT Festival

Vulvarine

Vulvarine

The Vaults

Reviewed – 14th March 2019

★★★★★

 

“It’s a rare treat to find musical comedies on the fringe circuit that are as technically good as they are funny”

 

Nothing ever happens in High Wycombe. Bryony Buckle spends her days living alone with her cat Elton, working a monotonous office job with her friend Poppy, and crushing on her colleague Orson. But one day, the combination of a hormone injection from her doctor, and being struck by lightning on her way home, results in Bryony waking up with superpowers! She decides to use them for good: Wherever men are arseholes, Vulvarine is there to stop them. But it isn’t long before she’s challenged by an evil scientist: The Mansplainer. Can Vulvarine and her friends defeat him?

Fat Rascal Theatre continue to set the bar for off-West End musicals. I was lucky enough to catch their Beauty and the Beast: A Musical Parody back in November at The King’s Head, and arrived at VAULT Festival last night with impossibly high expectations. Their Beauty and the Beast was the most fun I’d had at a show in ages; it was a question whether they’d be able to match their own standard. But without doubt, Fat Rascal have done it again. Vulvarine is a triumph of musical theatre.

A powerhouse of a show, Vulvarine is an astoundingly clever and absolutely hilarious musical parody of the superhero genre. It’s also feminism at its silliest and most entertaining. West-End voices belt out smart, witty lyrics (Robyn Grant, Daniel Elliot) to fun, highly accomplished music (James Ringer-Beck). The performers are superb. Their comedy is faultless, their parody expert.

Self-aware humour is one of Fat Rascal’s own superpowers. With a somewhat lower budget than the typical Marvel film, they create a brilliantly funny aesthetic with cheap wigs, comically fast costume changes, flimsy props, and total mockery of ‘effects’ (a handheld vacuum in reverse is the wind as Vulvarine ‘flies through the air’). The show is laugh-out-loud from start to finish. The audience really almost never stops laughing. There ought to be a warning for anyone prone to hysterical fits; some people lost it completely.

Allie Munro is equally lovable and fierce as Bryony/Vulvarine. Jamie Mawson is delightful as the ‘pretty’ love interest, Orson (a nice gender swap from typical Marvel plotlines). Steffan Rizzi is great as Sonya, and sings a particularly powerful solo – “Boys Will Be Boys” – which is done with surprising heart and skill. Robyn Grant and Katie Wells slay their multi-rolling performances. All of the voices in this show belong on much larger stages. It’s a rare treat to find musical comedies on the fringe circuit that are as technically good as they are funny.

Fat Rascal Theatre are at the top of their game. An undeniable hit, Vulvarine is the latest addition to their list of victories. The show is shamelessly silly fun, created by powerfully talented people. You’ll be hard-pressed to spend a more enjoyable hour and fifteen minutes in a theatre.

 

Reviewed by Addison Waite

Photography courtesy Fat Rascal Theatre

 

Vault Festival 2019

Vulvarine

Part of VAULT Festival 2019

 

Also by Fat Rascal Theatre:
Beauty and the Beast: A Musical Parody | ★★★★★ | King’s Head Theatre | November 2018

 

Click here to see more of our latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com