Using songs, monologues and sketches, The Vagina Dialogues utilises a variety of formats to make points about what it’s like to be a modern woman and the everyday experiences that accompany this. Devised by the Volvas – a feminist theatrical ensemble – The Vagina Dialogues has revolving themes that resurface periodically throughout the show.
On the lighter side of things, the trial-and-error quest for the female orgasm (versus the instantaneous male counterpart) makes an appearence, as does the ongoing sketch involving Sian Brett’s data entry clerk and the lack of female solidarity in the office.
Female friendships are also explored in the sketches involving Jazmin Qunta and Nancy Ofori Geywu, making a distinction between what a friend needs to hear (as opposed to palliative platitudes), but still offering support anyway. Geywu channels her ‘auntie’ when giving sage advice, but it his her experiences as a black woman that provides the evening’s intersectional perspective.
The sketches involving MJ Ashton and Grace Hudson touch upon many different subjects – the relationships of sisters, daughters’ relationships with mothers, plus the stalking and sexual advances that women experience at some time or other in their lives. The latter part of this ‘dialogue’ leaves the deepest impression, as the night out during their teenage years explains much about their relationship and the words in their conversations that act as ‘triggers’.
Taken as a whole, the Volvas deliver a satisfying mix of satire, commentary and song. While their show is often humorous with a broad appeal, there is a weight to the more serious topics, like an iron fist within a velvet glove.
© Michael Davis 2018
The Vagina Dialogues runs at Waterloo East Theatre as part of the Vault Festival until 18th February.