The Vagina Monologues – Penicuik Town Hall – Review
‘Abrasive,’ ‘Poignant,’ ‘Funny,’ ‘Sad,’ ‘Touching,’ ‘Crude,’ ‘Sensitive.’
All of these words have been used in the past to describe The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler but if there is one word you can use with safety its, provocative. Based on interviews Ensler carried out with hundreds of women the play is structured around a series of fictional monologues. Through an underlying theme of female empowerment Ensler celebrates femininity whilst raising awareness of violence against women.
On April 25th and 26th women from Penicuik Community Theatre Group and the surrounding area staged a production of The Vagina Monologues. The Friday saw them play to a packed hall with a performance that was vivacious, funny, engaging and laced throughout with an authenticity that left you laughing one minute and close to tears the next as you connected with each story.
The actresses brought sympathy and understanding to their roles that on one hand celebrated the female form and on the other brought home the reality of the violence some women live with on a daily basis. Laughter was balanced skilfully with moments of haunting sadness giving the whole performance an exhilarating poignancy. The skill of the performance carried gut wrenching pathos on a tide of laughter that was not lost in frivolity but brought home a very serious and real message that could not fail to strike a chord within every member of the audience.
Sarah Wilson, one of the actresses, stated ‘being involved in the production was a revelation to all the women on the stage. Each had their own history that they brought to the performance.’ This was a history and experience that translated into moving and captivating performances. The bond the cast had developed was also evident in the power of their performance; a bond born from the subject matter and that leaves all the actresses planning to work together again in the future.
Director Lynsey Cullen expressed how proud she was of everyone involved in the production and especially the actresses for the wonderful job they had done. With this memorable performance Lynsey achieved her goal of bringing the production to Midlothian in an attempt to highlight the fact that in the UK right now, 1 in 4 women are the victims of rape, attempted rape or domestic violence.
90% of the profits from the production went to local charity Midlothian Women’s Aid and the remaining 10% to V-Day 2013’s Spotlight Global Charity. This year, to celebrate V-Days 15 anniversary, the spotlight has been placed on the one billion women on the planet who have experienced violence against them in their lifetime.
Midlothian Women’s Aid expressed their thanks to Lynsey and Penicuik Community Theatre Group not only for the generous donation but also for helping them to raise awareness of the work they do. Midlothian’s Women’s Aid offers confidential information, support and a safe place to stay for women and children affected by domestic abuse. Women’s Aid has worked with abused women for over 30 years offering confidential support and information. If you want to talk about what is happening, discuss any fears or anxieties, or need help to look at your options, you can speak to a worker by phone or arrange a meeting by calling:
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Penicuik Community Theatre Group’s next production, Dick Whittington, will be on 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th December. If their latest offering was anything to go on the Christmas pantomime promises to be a fantastic production and a great Christmas night out for the whole family, one I would thoroughly recommend.
Productions rely upon the support and input of the local community. ‘We’re Looking for men,’ a comment that, considering the context of the evening’s performance, raised a laugh and a few eyebrows. However, on a serious note, Penicuik Community Theatre Group would like to hear from anyone, and especially men, who would be interested in getting involved in future productions. If you are interested you can go along to their regular rehearsal and meeting place, the Town Hall on Thursdays at 7.30 pm or get in touch via e-mail:
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4.5 out of 5