Adrienne Truscott’s Asking For It at Soho Theatre
After winning the Edinburgh Comedy Awards’ panel prize at the Fringe last year, Adrienne Truscott’s provocative Asking For It, starring her “pussy and little else”, has transferred from an intimate Edinburgh bookstore to the hip Soho Theatre in London.
The show, a rapaciously sarcastic and delightfully subversive polemic about rape culture, is confrontational on multiple levels. Truscott targets male comics who unintelligently joke about sexual assault, as well as politicians that ignorantly refer to it in their political discourse as something that scantily-clad female victims had been “asking for”. The format of the show, described as a “one-lady rape about comedy”, is a 60-minute sequence of jokes about sexual violence, and Truscott effectively assaults the audience, whether we “like it or not”. The entire performance is a sarcastic metaphor for the act, though of course with the audience’s consent.
Truscott satirises the recent avalanche of tasteless sexual abuse comedy from male comics, not through sober commentary but through jokes of her own, showing her male counterparts (some of whom she references directly, in particular US comedian Daniel Tosh) how to do rape comedy in a way that’s actually funny. Her point is subtle: though there should not be any no-go areas in comedy, the jokes should at least be clever.
Performance artist by trade, Truscott’s stage conduct is less subtle – she is naked from the waist down. She reminds audience members that she’s perhaps the most comfortable person in the room, with everybody else’s attention focused on her naked crotch, the “site of the crime”, elevated by the theatre stage to eye-level. Along with her boozing during the show, Truscott’s attire (or lack of it) takes the notion of “asking for it” to the extreme. She goes further by wittingly ridiculing the notion, pointing out that nobody ever says to their partner “Will you f***me?”, but rather ‘F*** me!’.
The audience initially feels uneasy, uncertain where Truscott will draw the line, but this is soon forgotten (along with the nudity), as audience members lose themselves in the subtlety and sophistication of her comedy. Highly provocative both in its message and its delivery, the show is not for everyone. You have to at least be “open to it”.
Adrienne Truscott’s Asking For It is at the Soho Theatre until 31st May 2014. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.