Edinburgh Fringe 2018
“Fran wants to want sex. But no matter how many wonder cures she tries, she doesn’t feel like her fire’s been lit. Sometimes it hurts. Join Fran on a ‘relentlessly hilarious’ (Stage) quest, with songs, as she pursues a “normal” sex life. Expect toe-tapping tunes, a magic penis and a visit to Sex Camp. Ad Libido explores Fran’s own experience of Female Sexual Dysfunction, (which covers problems with sexual response, desire, orgasm or pain during sex) a condition affecting at least 43% of women”.
Brave is an underrated adjective here because it makes it sound like we should like this show and support it just because of the content. This is a brilliant show in it’s own right: well crafted, confidently and cleanly delivered. Thought-provoking, funny, moving, Fran Bushe had us on the edge of our seats, jaws tightened, breaths held, as we witnessed full frontal and earnest sharing of incredibly intimate and personal moments in the exploration to “fix sex”. We cringed, we squealed, we loved Fran for being so vulnerable and exposed. But we loved her even more for owning it.
So many unnamed issues raised in this show, they didn’t need to be named as they are inherent in the subject, but the underlying gendered political themes were clear; Women’s bodies as object and a means for men’s desire, the miseducation of girls and young women who are trained, one might awkwardly say ‘groomed’, to see sex as focused on men’s peak sexual pleasure.
There’s no anger in this show, no accusatory finger pointed. The men find it just as funny and touching as the women do. Maybe the men find it a relief too, realising that sex isn’t all about the in out thrusts of urgent relief. Though Bushe is not saying that her, ahem, bush doesn’t want that. On the contrary. She doesn’t want to spend her evenings having stimulating debate, thrusting opinion and dialogue on the subject of global warming and brexit. By jove she wants it all, dolphin style, and why bloody not.
Pertinent reflections come out of this show, about waiting, about the slow build up, about making things special. And special doesn’t have to be in a long term relationship.
This show turns everything on its head, literally.