Deborah Ward and China Fish’s fearless feminist sketch show will empower women and men alike. The radical play evokes a heady mishmash of the endearing absurdity of The Mighty Boosh, with lashings of The Vagina Monologues thrown in for good measure. Sponsored by Lunette menstrual cup and made possible with Arts Council funding, the Hannah Elsy production aims to shed light on women’s issues of the day through the lens of the burlesque.
The actors craft an array of colourful and grotesque characters, which lampoon their subject matter with aplomb. During the show’s second rendition at London’s Bunker Theatre, the audience was audibly in stitches throughout.
Highlights included a giant, sentient “fleshy pink” vagina, an acerbic Monty Python-esque interpretation of British men’s rights activist Mike Buchanan—who was the founder of the Justice for Men and Boys party—and a performing stage manager who takes the form of an overexcited clitoris.
Speaking to Express.co.uk ahead of the show’s London run, writer and performer Deborah said: “It is about empowering women and reclaiming the female body, which has been so greatly distorted in popular culture for so long.”
READ MORE: Feminist show Queen C*** set to RAISE EYEBROWS in London
The artist explained she and co-star China had found from their research the oldest word in the English language for the female genitalia is c**t. In their sketch show, the duo wanted to reclaim the much-maligned term and their own bodies along with it.
Indeed, the show probes complex issues concerning the female form—triumphantly brought to the fore during a powerful Virgin Mary scene in which the crowd is treated to an unexpected maternal delight.
“As theatre-makers we are interested in comedy and specifically absurd comedy,” Deborah told Express.co.uk. The obvious thread of satire is pronounced throughout the performance. But while comedy undoubtedly spearheads this courageous show, it must not belie its true impact as a cutting-edge critique on the patriarchal world in which we live.
“This show is fabulous and grotesque and it has a great message at its heart about how women have been victimised in the past in an attempt to tackle the ugliness of the recent backlash against feminism and women’s rights,” producer Hannah Elsy told Express.co.uk, highlighting the serious message behind the production.
“China and I had lengthy discussions about the fact that one in three women in the UK suffer sexual assaults and facts such as that are just so shocking and relatively not spoken about,” Deborah added. “We wanted to set ourselves the challenge of bringing those facts to life.”
Beneath the side-splitting performances and witty script, Queen C***’s thesis therefore raises not only eyebrows but fundamental questions about the role of women today.