Adrienne Truscott: Asking for It
Aiming gags away from the victims for once
This article is from 2014.
Having stood out in what was already a fairly feminism-centric Fringe last year, Adrienne Truscott (and her vagina) is back with another short run of her radical one-woman show about rape. Pantless and breathless, Truscott bares her body and soul in an event – and it is an event – that straddles the gap between performance art and comedy show. We are looking at where rape lies in comedy. Jokes about the subject forces laughter from the crowd: blanket statements and facts do not. ‘I’m gonna do a comedy show about rape whether you like it or not,’ says Truscott bluntly. ‘I feel real comfortable, even if you don’t.’
Going for the jugular from the off, every studied line or scenario that comes out of her mouth can be reconsidered, reinterpreted and thought about for hours. Playing a southern belle character who’s giving stand-up comedy a try, Truscott is confrontational, needling and hard-hitting, while remaining stiletto-sharp and biting.
The rules about how society views rape are torn asunder as notable examples of rape rhetoric are brought up, flipped and, essentially, annihilated: think comic Daniel Tosh’s gang-rape joke incident or (while running for the US Senate) Todd Akin’s ‘it’s not “legit” rape if you get pregnant’ worldview. Her jokes are at times visceral and painful, however the fact that a vagina – ridiculously the main talking point in all of this – is just there for all to see, brings an unexpected lightness to the discourse.
While the take-home point is that jokes about controversial topics are at their most searing when aimed at the aggressor rather than the victim (as any comic worth their salt should know), Truscott has time – through a projector, her bush and a headstand – to indulge in some acrobatics and prove that perhaps there is a ‘right’ way to do genitalia jokes.
Bob & Miss Behave’s Bookshop, 226 0000, until 16 Aug (not 10–12), 11pm, free (£8 to reserve a seat).