Edinburgh Fringe 2018
Both side splitting and head splitting for its painful accuracy at the state of stasis for women, Natalie’s hilarious education in women’s herstory, and artistry as actor, comedienne, and impressionist will have you laughing at the absurdity of it all.
Full disclosure, I am a woman. I say this because as a woman, I don’t generally curse in a review, nor do I tend to shout, or contradict, or speak unless I am absolutely certain of the accuracy and effectiveness of my argument. Ok, those last bits may not be true, but they are what’s expected, according to the latest efforts of feminist comedy wunderkind Natalie Cutler whose tongue in cheek sarcasm and razor edged delivery could stand up to any late night comedy show if only women were allowed to host them.
I don’t want to give the impression that this is a women only event, in fact, far from, which is one of the most brilliant aspects of the show. No men were actually harmed in the making of this production, and in fact, women are put on notice that we daughters of the suffrage revolutionaries need to look down to the shoulders on which we stand, and start doing our part to change the narrative as well. The genius in Not Yet Suffragette is in Natalie’s set up, that she was born too late because she herself would have taken up the mantle of pro-rights work but since the work has all been accomplished…and thus we begin the ironic journey of women’s evolution from wife and mother without equal rights to working wife and mother, um…
Her immensely clever delivery of decade after decade of women fighting for visibility, equality, and autonomy is both side splitting and head splitting for its painful accuracy at the state of stasis for women in the UK and left this woman laughing almost in a fit of madness, topped off by an eleventh hour gut punch so on point as to make the final monologue feel extraneous were it not so necessary.
The dialogue, a series of sketches highlighting some of the more egregious moments in our historical patronization of women is interspersed with groan inducing true references from journals, magazines, ads, and even an educational text defining a woman’s place in the world. Not to give too much away but a highlight for me was an absolutely ingenious transition in time marked by Natalie’s realization that she’d spent a decade in the kitchen. Don’t worry, it’s much funnier when she tells it!
No one gets out unscathed, least of all the people in power but Natalie’s hilarious education in women’s herstory, and artistry as actor, comedienne, and impressionist will have you laughing at the absurdity of it all, and left this modern day suffragette determined to do better. Some members of the audience may feel a bit alienated by the somewhat lengthy assault on motherhood but her logic on some of our more traditional expectations and our fairer sex’s role in relinquishing our power will have even the most conservative among us pulling out our Beyonce secret stash. As an American I couldn’t quite shake the intersectional truth behind the Not Yet Suffragette narrative which so closely mirrors the justified complaints of other marginalized communities who are asked to “wait for their turn” long past reason. With wit, humor, and a healthy sprinkling of cynicism, Not Yet Suffragette rings out a clarion call for change and I hope the audiences of Edinburgh answer it.