Adrienne Truscott : Asking For It – A One-Lady Rape About Comedy Starring Her Pussy And Little Else!
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Adrienne Truscott : Asking For It – A One-Lady Rape About Comedy Starring Her Pussy And Little Else!

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Some comedy-show titles can be abstract in the extreme, bearing little if any resemblance to the show itself. Not Adrienne Truscott’s. What you see is what you get…but only with her consent, of course. No doubt many in the packed house chose this show out of curiosity, or because they wanted to see NAKED VAG™ live on stage. These people got their money’s worth. Hopefully they also got the point.

Inspired by rape culture in general, and more particularly by the 2012 Daniel Tosh controversy (he allegedly responded to a female heckler with “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by five guys right now?”, leading to much heated debate about a comic’s ‘right’ to make rape jokes), the show explores questions of consent, comedy and control in a world where sexual violence is normalised and women’s rights are still considered debatable by many.

One half of the notoriously envelope-pushing New York circus-cabaret duo the Wau Wau Sisters, Truscott is no stranger to nudity on stage, nor to controversy: during their 2012 Brisbane run of The Last Supper, the Sisters received death threats. They found out later that the threat-maker had attended the show and, given that they’re still very much alive, obviously didn’t make good on his threat. “We must have done such a fabulous show that he loved it…and decided not to kill us,” Truscott has joked to press. “We won him over.”

In this show, she imagines a similar scenario to wonderfully subvert Tosh and his defenders’ arguments: what if he had responded to that heckler by winning her over with a five-man gang joke? Wouldn’t it be actually funny if that girl got made to laugh by five comedians right now, she posits.

She uses this tactic often during the show, substituting herself or gerbils or something mundane or silly into others’ justifications for rape – from rightwing American Christians comparing women to ducks to explain their concept of “legitimate rape” to a gender-swapped date-rape scenario. The results are as wonderful as they should be devastatingly obvious.

Unsurprisingly, the show has many uncomfortable moments that seemed to leave plenty in Friday night’s audience unsure how to respond, and as a result it flags occasionally. But Truscott uses her physicality to great effect (I won’t spoil it but what she does with her video projections is gold) and her faux-naïveté with regards to comedy works well with her theme and presentation. The nudity, of course, is her prime gambit: literally stripped of apparel, so often invoked in questions of consent, she’s not so much asking if she’s asking for it as she’s detonating the entire concept.

Unapologetically smart, crude and provocative, Adrienne Truscott rises to the challenge and beats the rape-joke apologists at their own game. Can a show about rape be funny? Absolutely. If done with intelligence, tact and comedic insight.

BY MELANIE SHERIDAN