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The Vagina Monologues (Tour - Newcastle)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Scared - the opening line to this perennial theatrical journey of woman. I was terrified, being one of a handful (steady girls) of men in the audience.

At the end of the day, or should I, at say the end of the play, there was nothing to be scared of at all. The journey of the various character’s is thought provoking and heart rending. The cast take the audience on a journey of what it is in being a woman; with humour and pathos that had me laughing and cringing in equal measure.

This is theatre for the modern woman/man who has the ability to engage with the “finer” things of life. This is not however an evening for those who like myself are easily shocked, as I had to bury my head in my hands at one or two moments during the evening. That is not to say I didn’t learn or appreciate the reminiscences of the two hundred strong women who had contributed to the forming of this evening of theatre. This isn’t “Hedda Gabler”, nor is it “Miss Julie” what I feel it is, after hearing the many monologues during the evening, is the horror of abuse of women. Horror that is so heartfelt and tangible in the audience and from the three performers, that as a “collective” we share the same abject anger, shame and pity that we as a society are capable of. This is a play that has opened my eyes, and not I hope for the first audience member... being one of a few men in the audience, allow me the use of the word, member!

Mel Giedroyc (from the double act, Mel & Sue and Great British Bake Off) is just wonderful in the many monologues she performs. Her timing in both comedic and tragic moments is beautifully judged and her stage presence is palpable. Hayley Tamaddon, (Emmerdale and Dancing on Ice) is lovely and gives a huge performance that allows sparks to fly! Anne Charleston (Madge Ramsey, Neighbours) seems somewhat uncomfortable in her role and never really engages with the material she has to work with.

An illuminating evening at the theatre, so please remember, that when they ask you to switch off the mobile phone… do it! This is NOT a night at the cinema or a re-run of “Loose Women” you are at the theatre, either engage with the performers, or stay at home and watch TV. You might learn something! I did.

- Damian Robson


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