Writer: Jenny May Morgan
Director: Joyce Branagh
Reviewer: Jo Beggs
Erotic novelist Pamela DeMenthe has been struggling to finish “that tricky 29thnovel” but now she’s hit on the perfect twist and she’s here to launch the book (only 39.99!) to her adoring fans. eVULVAlution is a time-travelling erotic romp set in prehistoric Hull, a great follow up to her previous novels such as Panties inferno, Sticky Digits and Unexpected Item In My Bagging Area.
Pamela is the character comedy creation of actor and comedian Jenny May Morgan eVULVAlution has been created at the Lowry, supported by their Developed With artist development programme, that gives artists the chance to create work that develops their practice, with bespoke support offered along the way. It’s given Jenny May Morgan the opportunity to ramp up her performance storytelling into a fully formed one-woman fringe show.
Morgan creates the characters of both the writer and her heroine, Sandra. Self-published and self-publicist Pamela could certainly be a bit more over-the-top grotesque, with her stories of sex parties and clutching a glass of white wine, she’s more suburban 1970s swinger than femme fatale. As she starts to read from her latest novel, her central character Sandra takes over. Sandra is a plucky student palaeontologist who unexpectedly ends up in a Neanderthal orgy in prehistoric Hull – and takes the audience on this unlikely journey with her through some fun performance storytelling, interaction and audiovisuals. It’s a ridiculous, raunchy story that shapes into a nicely rounded hour-long show.
Morgan’s writing is fun, there’s some, but not enough, good jokes in the show. Morgan is a confident performer with lovely comic timing. The thing that would really make this production stronger would be more definition between the two characters, who really seem far too similar. Morgan could have real fun with this, especially when the two meet towards the end of the show.
Morgan and Director Joyce Branagh have made a show that really expands to fit the space, including forays into the auditorium. There’s some unthreatening audience participation that would undoubtedly be entered into more enthusiastically if the show was in a basement fringe venue with a late-night bar, but people are pretty game nonetheless.
eVULVAlution is an enjoyable hour of comedy. Morgan clearly enjoys inhabiting her creations, but you’re left feeling that you haven’t fully experienced her talents. If she pushed these two characters just a bit further into the realms of the absurd it would really make this show sing.
Runs until 5 April 2019 | Image: Contributed