In its 10th year of U.K. performances one cannot help but ask, is The Vagina Monologues still relevant in a post-feminist world? After watching the opening night of the Monologues at the Edinburgh Playhouse the question can only be answered in the affirmative.
The all-Scottish cast that included Gail Porter, Michelle McManus, Karen Dunbar and Kaye Adams brought the Monologues right to the heart of Scotland. The Monologues opened with a listing of the euphemisms that we use to avoid saying that word, which went local referencing the euphemism “spunk satchel” used in Portobello and “minge” in Porter’s household.
Dunbar is an instant favourite. She energises the crowd with her natural humour by unashamedly acting out a sex scene describing how the word vagina ‘kills’ the act of lovemaking. Dunbar quotes from the Monologues that it “doesn’t matter how many times you say it, it never sounds like a word you want to say” while nods from the mainly female audience certify that the vagina remains taboo.
The crowd ease themselves into the lucid Monologues by giggling at the frequent use of “vagina”. However, the intimacy created by the charisma of the cast and the personal nature of the monologues had audience members shouting “cunt” and screaming for the “clit fact” in second half of the two-hour long performance.
The monologues ranged in hilarity from Dunbar’s performance of “My Angry Vagina” with her aside that what our vaginas really want are “cotton panties with a rampant rabbit inside. Women would be coming all day long, coming in Asda… Clean up in aisle two”. To Porter’s more serious performance about victims of rape in refugee camps in Bosnia. To McManus’s “cunt-off”, which incited massive applause and cheering in an audience that was formally shocked by the language.
The modest black and red set created the desired effect by letting the actresses and the words of the Monologues do the talking.
The night reached its climax with Porter’s fearless performance of the “Triple Surprise Moan” which was enhanced by a small firework display in the backdrop while Porter ‘moaned in ecstasy’ on the floor.
The Vagina Monologues was an evening for women to celebrate their bodies in an empowering way. The giggles and exclamations from the largely older crowd still show that the liberation of the vagina is yet to be accomplished. The Monologues invites women and (some) men to open up about the mystery surrounding women’s bodies and the wonder that the vagina creates. The vagina, one woman explains in The Vagina Monologues, “It wants everything”.