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Edinburgh Fringe 2016

The Vagina Dialogues

The Völvas

Genre: Dance and Movement Theatre, New Writing, Physical Theatre

Venue: Summerhall


Low Down

Personal experiences delivered with style, verve and panache.


Here’s a show for men. Young men. Especially those aged 20-30. If that’s you – see this show and find out what you’ve been doing wrong when it comes to the opposite sex and find out what they make of you. You will be teased quite mercilessly. It will be great fun.

The Völvas is an international ‘visual and performance ensemble’ consisting of six artists from Britain, Norway, and Iceland. What a joyous celebration of young women this piece is. Challenging and deeply harrowing too.

The stand out scene is a tale of unconsented sex at a party. Chilling, desperately sad, visceral. A painful personal account told with precision and passion. You’ll be sick to your stomach. What comes through clear as a bell, and there is such a clean precise air about this show, is that if we are going to love each other – if we are going to move on from such trauma, we need to listen to each other. Really listen.

And there’s been some good listening in the preparation for this piece. The experiences of the cast:  MJ Ashton, Ellamae Cieslik, Ingunn Lara Kristjánsdóttir, Magnus Kayser, Sarah Jeanpierre  and Sian Brett, are playfully and artfully put together with an impish sense of humour. The music’s good too, live keyboards delivered from the one guy in the troupe, but even here the players avoid making him the butt of any jokes; he’s their friend, their colleague, he doesn’t represent a gender.

This is terrific ensemble work, so it would be wrong to pick out individuals but there is a wonderful array of talents on offer with great comic timing, acting skills, good eye contact and performers who know how to ground themselves and properly deliver a telling line. They can dance too. This team clearly love sharing their work and we’re invited to get caught up in the emotional ebb and flow. So, young men, open your minds and join these women for memorable night out.

Later I was left thinking ‘What next from The  Völvas? Religion? Politics? Metaphysics?’ The world is theirs for the taking. Brave work.