Although Ad Libido is certainly comical and leans towards the increasingly popular genre of ‘stand up comedy with songs’, Bushe uses humour to dissect taboo subjects like sexual response, female desire, sexual stimulation, and pain during sex, a condition that Bushe tells us affects at least 43% of women.
The piece is heartfelt, heart warming and at times heart wrenching. Bushe recounts stories of male friends stridently claiming they can fix her with their ‘magic penis’; how medical professionals have conversely told her to ‘have more sex’, ‘stop having sex’ and even ‘pop some Savlon on the problem area’; how in dark post-coital hours she has seriously contemplated dubious gadgets like vibrational implants at the bottom of her spinal cord to improve sexual satisfaction. The anecdotes are shocking, and at times horrendous, but Bushe is only stating what is on offer to women who have genuine sexual problems. The creeping sense of systemic misogyny and female oppression scorches through the show, but is always performed with a light touch.
Bushe is a charming performer, but her real talent shines through her song lyrics, which are pumped full of witty rhyming schemes and unexpected rhythms. The songs are spliced through the show in a slightly muddled fashion, which is intentional, as the piece is not trying to be slick, but messy like reality. However, a more considered narrative structure and tactical use of songs would lift this already impressive show to the next level.
At its best, Ad Libido is funny, truthful and indisputably moving. There is no doubt that Bushe bares her - fully clothed - body and soul. She fearlessly uses her sexual journey as a test case to illustrate to those who have experienced similar sexual frustration, humiliation and anxiety that they are not alone; that we as a society should welcome more honest conversations about sexual difficulties and dysfunctions. As with many great pieces of theatre, you come out galvanised and inspired to take on the world. In this case one orgasm at a time.
|What||Ad Libido, Soho Theatre review|
|Where||Soho Theatre, 21 Dean Street, Soho, W1D 3NE | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Oxford Circus (underground)|
07 May 19 – 11 May 19, 7:15 PM – 9:00 PM
|Website||Click here for more information and tickets|