Where do babies come from? How are they made? These are all questions I’m sure we’ve all asked in our formative years and they are all very valid, however, and this is fair enough, we are greeted with a series of well rehearsed mythical answers. Education-wise, being taught about the birds and the bees is a cringe-inducing rite of passage that can’t be avaoided. Les Femme Ridicule‘s In the Gut intends to lighten up an otherwise very reserved society and intends to lift the lid on a series of misconceptions.
Welcomed by spritely duo Les Femme Ridicule, In the Gut starts as it means to go on; a light hearted sketch not at all intent on taking itself too seriously, with its sole purpose of involving the audience in its world rather than promoting a passive atmosphere. Les Femme Ridicule present an off beat cooking show, talking all things contractions and buns in the oven. Audience participation is key, and is a brave move. Luckily, majority of the audience are willing to take part, making the evening a comical one. Much of the evening depends on the energy of the audience, with its intention of encouraging a dialogue. This intention however is not fully realised due to the randomness of the evening and the novelty of the evening wearing thin. Taking on a Celebrity Juice inspired air, the evening is part performance, part game show with audience members asked to take on silly tasks such as wrapping a performer with a hand made nappy and another squishing playdough to emulate what happens when a woman goes through contractions. This offers a break up between the educational and the personal, however doesn’t really go anywhere narratively or structurally.
Les Femme are apt at educating the audience on the reproductive process and are more than happy to talk about subjects that may otherwise be omitted in formal education however present a barrage of ideas that could in themselves be topics for another show. From looking at whether giving birth defines womanhood, to looking at conditions that could effect a pregnancy I leave a little more enlightened, but then I’m left lost as to what mood the evening wants to leave me in. There are some heartbreaking subjects, such as the traumatic after effect of miscarriage on a couple. There is potential to move the audience to tears, however this doesn’t happen and it’s due to the lack of time assigned on the matter and therefore misses out on a much needed intensity. The evening is brimming with a series of ideas but needs to pinpoint its standout moments. Staging consisting of pink material to emulate the female reproductive system, and helmets shaped like sperm contribute brilliantly to the evening’s light heartedness. The alternative sex education class that is at its very beginning of becoming a force to be reckoned with. 2.5/5
Review written by Lucy Basaba
Les Femmes Ridicule is currently showing at the Blue Elephant Theatre until Saturday 18th June. For more information on the production, visit here…