Frank feminist sexuality followed by a foray into existential dread; more from Laura Clay…
Molly Brenner brings Iâ€™m Coming, her sex-positive one-woman comedy to the Fringe, charting her long and expensive journey to her first orgasm at 28. The mainly female audience connected with her experiences quickly, from idly putting Barbies into compromising situations as a child to plodding through a formulaic 6-step lovemaking session.
Itâ€™s a far cry from the tame romcom sex Molly envisioned, where shirts come off in one scene and in the next youâ€™re at brunch the day after. The quip comparing masturbation to the kombucha-drinking trend was particularly inspired, but Mollyâ€™s show has a genuine message that needs to be heard: itâ€™s okay to enjoy sex and you shouldnâ€™t feel ashamed about your desires and fantasies.
Frank and witty throughout, Mollyâ€™s sometimes messy adventure lays bare the inadequacy of sex education, with its emphasis on biology and reproduction rather than pleasure. Indeed, the show is bookended with asking the audience to picture their first orgasm in detail, a thought-provoking way to kickstart a debate around sex.
Overall, I found Iâ€™m Coming to be an empowering, enjoyable trip through female sexuality with a strong feminist edge.
Sweet Grassmarket, 2-25 Aug (not 14th), 17:30
â€˜It makes me worried about the world, the thought of eternity.â€™
Famously unfinished in his lifetime, BÃ¼cherâ€™s Woyzeck focuses on the titular characterâ€™s descent into madness, as he struggles to provide for his unfaithful wife and illegitimate child. To make ends meet, he works as a barber and allows a doctor to inflict cruel experiments on him â€“ such as only eating peas for a month, something that seems to hasten Woyzeckâ€™s breakdown.
The set and props are minimal (pictured) with the three cast members rotating out for foley duty at the back of the stage. Sound effects are skilfully created with water bottles, violin bows on metal and other ingenious approaches.
At times, though, the booming bass rumble that serves as the soundtrack throughout made understanding dialogue difficult. All the same, the acting was excellent, especially Woyzeck himself, who commands the stage with manic, sweaty aplomb. The army major also injects some philosophy into proceedings with his musings on time and mortality.
Since the play is unfinished, the ending is left open to interpretation. Missing Cat have chosen a fate for Woyzeck that brings the play to an abrupt, macabre end, one that took the audience by surprise! Presumably to facilitate audience understanding, the subplots have also been removed, leaving the focus on the fraught love triangle.
Woyzeck certainly matches the grim mood of 2019, and it’s worth seeing if you enjoy some existential dread with your Fringe.
Greenside @ Infirmary Street, 9-10, 12-17 Aug, 17:25
Laura is a fiction/creative non-fiction writer based in Edinburgh. Their work has been published by Scottish Book Trust, Monstrous Regiment and the Dangerous Women project.
Twitter: @uisgebeatha, Instagram: @lauraclayauthor