The Vagina Monologues at Bristol Hippodrome, 4/5, by Dawn Killick
THE return to Bristol Hippodrome of Eve Ensler's thought-provoking monologues featured Hollie-Jay Bowes, Terri Dwyer and Diane Keen.
Ensler wrote the first draft of the monologues in 1996.
There have been several revisions since, following interviews she conducted with 200 women about their views on sex, relationships and violence against women.
The interviews began as casual conversations with her friends, who then brought up anecdotes they had been told by other friends.
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This began a chain of referrals.
The Vagina Monologues is performed in 140 countries in 50 languages and donates a percentage of revenue from ticket sales to V-Day, benefiting women's charities across the world.
The monologues were a mixture of humorous and moving accounts performed in various dialects.
The show opened with "if your vagina could talk, what would it say?" and moved on to "what it would wear?".
In the piece about the vagina workshop, the character examined her vagina with a mirror for the first time and compared herself to "how early astronomers must have felt with primitive telescopes".
A monologue about an angry vagina saw a humorous rant about injustices wrought against the vagina, such as tampons, douches and the tools used by gynaecologists.
The testimonies of Bosnian women subjected to rape camps darkened the mood of the audience.
But the mood was lightened again by tales of the lawyer-turned-dominatrix.
The monologue about a sex worker for women saw the character discuss the intriguing details of her career.
To demonstrate a "triple orgasm" she threw herself on to the floor, accompanied by fireworks.
The final monologue, which is new for this season, describes the birth of Ensler's granddaughter.
The three actresses engaged the audience and gave a polished performance on subjects that even today could cause debate.