The Vagina Monologues

Any show that can persuade its audience to yell out the forbidden ‘C word’ repeatedly must be some kind of success, but the overall delivery of this woman-power production lacked gusto, saved only in parts by the wackiness of the talented Charleen Marsters. 

 THAT Production CompanyTwelfth Night Theatre, Bowen Hills
Wednesday, 17 March, 2010
Any show that can persuade its audience to yell out the forbidden ‘C word’ repeatedly must be some kind of success, but the overall delivery of this woman-power production lacked gusto, saved only in parts by the wackiness of the talented Charleen Marsters. The Vagina Monologues is based on the stories of women from around the world who were interviewed about their vagina, pussy, flower…or whatever you want to call it. Personal and sometimes uncomfortable stories are shared, ranging from a woman who had attended a vagina workshop, and a homeless woman who was abused as a child. There were some interesting vagina facts, and campaigns to keep the hair down there! Promoted as a celebration of sexuality and strength, the show struggled to reach this triumphant level. Director Cassandra Ramsay failed to develop comfortable switches between the mix of funny tales and powerful tragedies. The serious monologues regarding sexual abuse and genital mutilation lacked mood and weren’t contrasted by the humour, because it wasn’t delivered well as well as it could have been. The one act play did climax two-thirds of the way through with a great performance from Marsters as the ‘C word’ motivator and the lesbian dominatrix sex worker. Her comic timing and delivery was seamless, and her high energy level was a real lift in the flat production. Samantha Colwell as the angry vagina who is sick of things being “shoved up her” was well delivered, but unfortunately the several different characters she played were performed with very similar attitudes and lacked their own individuality.  Belinda Small was unconvincing as one of the more weighty characters; a Bosnian woman who had been gang-raped and tormented. Such a story is always going to be uncomfortable to hear but is better when it sounds as if it comes from the heart. This would have been a difficult role, however, her portrayal of the 70-something-year-old woman who has basically no relationship with her vagina, which she referred to as the “cellar down-there”, was touching.  The movement on stage was limited and uninventive, and costumes did little to brighten the atmosphere. The deeper meanings behind the stories didn’t shine through as much as they could have and the humour could have been stronger. But the audience laughed, and some of the stories probably connected with some. An average night at the theatre, but an up-and-coming talent discovery was made in Marsters. Season Closed

Anne-Marie Peard

Anne-Marie spent many years working with amazing artists at arts festivals all over Australia. She's been a freelance arts writer for the last 10 years and teaches journalism at Monash University.

Anne-Marie Peard

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