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Edinburgh Fringe 2022

Horrible Herstories

Lost Pages Theatre Company

Genre: Comedy, LGBT Theatre, Sketch Comedy

Venue: Greenside @ Nicolson Square - Lime Studio


Low Down

From a Victorian Naked Attraction to the disruption of a TED Talk where a man is claiming for himself the credit for a discovery made by women – of DNA – we are attending the 52nd Cambridge Men and Women’s Conference About Women For Men. As they are all called Phil, our erstwhile performers bring comedy to the sketches of the reinterpretation of history through a bit of music, some silly dancing and some serious points of view.


The premise, given the mainstream acceptance of Carol Duffy, credited with Herstories as a concept, has some heft and traction. It has some history itself, so anything attached to the idea comes with an expectation. The episodic nature of this piece is the only way in which it could be performed and put together. It could have benefitted, however, from a better structure and premise – the fact that it is a Cambridge forum being parodied is in itself ironic.

Our performers were very good and brought their own take to each of the sketches in which they were performing. There were moments of sheer genius including The Communist Manifesto a la Dolly and Total Wipeout. The section on Tampax was not as silly as The Dark Ages, but it was just as funny, and the Weaver, Antique Stone Show and the Witch Enforcer showed a deft hand with irony.

Where it was less successful had to do, I think, with fitting the structure. We did not really get the argument between the “blokes” about feminism being adequately challenged in a manner which either felt sequential or built a picture for us as an audience.

Technically the use of the stage was good showing a secure hand on the directorial tiller and costume and props – as well as the well-considered soundtrack worked well. Costumes, set and props were at a minimum and we had enough for the points to be made and the performance to fit.

Overall, there were moments in this which really and truly worked whilst there were pieces requiring a little more finesse. It did shine at times, and I laughed regularly enough to make my end of the day be signalled with a smile.

There is a really good group with some great ideas here – perhaps the whole show was a stretch and smaller sketches that work independently without the structure would have worked better or something which allowed the audience to be guided more would have benefitted us all.