In a world where there is a disparity between with the way women *should* be treated versus the way they actually *are*, there have in recent years been a number of female-centric shows in response to this. Queen C*nt: Sacred Or Profane? – which is written and performed by Deborah Antoinette and China Blue Fish – is a ‘no holds barred’ take on reclaiming pride in one’s womanhood. Unlike other shows such as The Vagina Monologues, which uses anecdotes to explore the many facets and experiences of being a woman, Queen C*nt uses humorous sketches to address issues.
In keeping with the title of the show, the set designed by Rose Popay is arranged to look like the external female sex organs. As for the clitoris, this is represented two-fold: by Ella Evan, the stage manager in a costume and by Naomi Smyth’s face projected on the ‘bud’ on the set – giving her opinion of what it’s like for her, day-in day-out. I admit the quality of Smyth’s performance reminded me of Hattie Hayridge’s ‘Holly’ in Red Dwarf and in terms of ‘the clit’s’ commentary, it provides a thread of continuity throughout the show, akin to the ‘talking fish’ on the wall in Reece Connolly’s Chutney.
Initially broaching the subject of the pressure on women to be both natural AND sexy at the same, the sketches performed by Antoinette and Fish have an iconoclastic fervour, with no topic or person ‘safe’ from scrutiny. This ‘fearlessness’ is comparable to ethos of theatre-makers such as Lucy McCormick and Russian ‘agent provocateurs’ Pussy Riot.
Some of the ‘icons’ who are scrutinised include the Virgin Mary, autobiographcal artist Frida Kahlo and… Theresa May. At the other end of the spectrum, real groups such as the Justice for Men & Boys political party who are vehemently opposed to feminism, are quoted verbatim and lampooned for their unenlightened ways.
While certain topics in the show are tackled in a direct fashion, others such as pornography take a different tact. Seen from the perspective of the elderly, the ‘goings on’ – which are recalled in detail – belie the absence of emotional intimacy in society, with extreme acts that ‘push the envelope’ becoming more prevalent and ‘the norm’.
© Michael Davis 2019
Queen C*nt: Sacred Or Profane? ran at The Bunker on 10th and 11th March.