The flyer for “The Vagina Dialogues” said it was “a feminist exploration of judgment in contemporary society, drawn from personal experiences” which I was pretty excited about. And at a well-paced 60 minutes, it did just that with a lot of sass, spark and audacity along the way. It starts with the ensemble cast (The Volvas) clad in sunglasses and what looked like Bridesmaid dresses performing the first of several original songs. The songs alone were dynamic and catchy (there is a “round” performed later in the show and I LOVE a “round”) and work well to create lightness when some of the storytelling can become quite dark and confronting.
The story is episodic but we return to the characters and scenarios; There are the two sisters daring to reveal a horrible truth from the past, the woman who daydreams about getting out of her suffocating job and the incredible difficulty of learning how to not say sorry and the young woman who finds herself pregnant and completely afraid, but utterly supported by her friend. There is a real feeling of sisterhood throughout the show be that through the exuberance and synchronicity of performance of the cast as well as the in the stories shared. These are often very personal experiences but they are familiar to a lot of us.
One of the aspects my friend and I discussed after leaving the show was the nudity. At one point during the show, the performers show their breasts and at first when it happened I wasn’t sure where it was going to go or if it needed to happen. I just feel sometimes any nudity on stage has the potential to be jarring. It was not the case in “The Vagina Dialogues” whereby the cast did an amazing dance to the old electro song “Popcorn” and it was so silly and bloody joyful. Which sounds a bit mad and it kind of was, but that was what made it so great. Brave and bonkers is what you want in a performance. Well, it’s what I want in my theatre anyway.
There are also some quite dark and confronting moments; in particularly I found a spoken word section where the two sisters speak each other’s words, a powerful piece of performance.
I thought this was an assured and sincere show with the right balance of humour and seriousness throughout. I would recommend this show to those with open ears and an open mind. I look forward to see what else “The Volvas” come up with as I think they are one (well a group!) to watch.
This show has now closed at Vault Festival, but follow @TheVolvas for future performances.
© Sarah Browne 2018