Evelyn Mok: Hymen Manoeuvre
- Brian Donaldson
- 6 August 2017
A show of two distinct halves which make comedy out of a crisis
For the first half of Hymen Manoeuvre, Evelyn Mok more than justified the expectations that have been building ahead of her Fringe debut. She has a mass of insecurities to discuss, about her body and identity (she's Swedish by birth but Chinese by heritage as she amusingly continues to point out by waving a finger around her face), and a less than successful love life ('time to feed the vagina!' has not worked for her as a chat-up line as she'd hoped).
Mok's anecdotes, turns-of-phrase and truly engaging stage presence bring out the terrors and joys (though mainly terrors, admittedly) of modern existence as a human being, but more specifically as a woman. She imagines a world where men are the menstruating ones, and as someone who lost her virginity in her mid-20s and was largely underwhelmed with the experience, she's fairly sure that she'd choose 'cake over dick' every single time. As half of a debut, Hymen Manoeuvre is truly exhilarating stuff, but even before the traditional lull-point of 40 minutes, something has started to seriously flag. It could have been down to Mok's inability in fully taking care of a back-row senior citizen who was keen to participate, but it's more likely that a full hour ended up stretching her writing powers at this stage of her career.
Having set up her Scandinavian upbringing with much humour, she moves the story on to her new life in multicultural London where she finally found that she could be herself. Perhaps coincidentally this is where the show's vitality begins to wane. The 'Swedish Amy Schumer' tag doesn't really do her many favours (a struggling comic's tormented take on things should always have more going for it creatively and credibly than a huge Hollywood star's) so it might only be when she becomes 'Sweden's Evelyn Mok' that her stock will properly and deservedly soar.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 27 Aug (not 14), 6pm, £7–£9 (£6–£8).