As far as show descriptions go, "A funny, frank, and occasionally explicit insight into heterosexual female desire, read out loud by a man" is an intriguing one. Manwatching, a triumphant hit of the 2015 Edinburgh Festival, is now in London and soon heading out on tour.
As a lone printer spits out pages of text, an unsuspecting comedian – a different man each night – takes to the stage to embody the voice of the text's female author. On our evening we had the fabulous south London funnyman Rob Beckett ("I don't know why I'm here really"), setting the performance up to what I thought would be a comical, straight-talking evening. But oh how disappointed I was.
The humour started out quite promising, the preferred length of penis size (NB, girth can make it seem stumpy) was discussed and early fumbling sexual encounters moved swiftly through to the speaker's recent intense fantasies, with pretty much every topic covered in-between. A whole section of the evening is dedicated to the "masturbation examination" as the author describes in great detail that girls do indeed like to have some ‘alone-time' too, it's not just an activity reserved for men.
But whilst there were funny and even enlightening moments which highlight some interesting double-standards between men and women, I was left a little… bored. During the show we were reminded that we may be shocked by the extent to which the author talks about masturbation but I must admit, shocked isn't the word I would use. Mildly bemused maybe? The protagonist's fantasies include a half-man, half-lion creature and a strange attraction to ‘unattractive' older men such as Jeremy Clarkson. Hmm. The "sexy brain" wants what it wants apparently.
I understand why there was a rule of ‘no ad-libbing' whilst reading – it would dilute the whole idea around the text which explores male privilege and how little men understand female sexuality – but I wished the whole thing was less tame and that the comedian was able to weigh in with an extra joke or two, it seemed like a waste of talent.
Overall, not a totally unenjoyable evening, there's definitely nothing wrong with some sexual healing but my own sexy brain needed a little more stimulation.