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Theatre review: Woman’s sex secrets, exposed by a man

REVIEW

Manwatching

Royal Court, London
★★★✩✩

THE idea behind this one person show is certainly intriguing. An anonymous, heterosexual woman has written a frank, sometimes explicit, but always deeply personal account of pretty much every aspect of her sex life.

But her script is read by a different top male comedian at each performance. He has no better idea of what the script contains than the audience. Potential readers include Phill Jupitus, Miles Jupp, Romesh Ranganathan and Mark Thomas.

On this night it was Adam Buxton of Adam and Joe fame. ‘Aesthetically I prefer length over girth,’ he says. The deadpan silence that follows suggests: ‘Thanks so much for putting that sentence into my mouth.’

Then he’s off again, detailing such intimacies as the author’s sexual awakening, her more outlandish fantasies, the sex she had with a man she found repulsive and the ‘masturbation examination’, by which she judges whether a man is worth forming a relationship with. Climaxing while thinking about him is a good sign.

According to the author, audiences are more likely to listen intently to a male voice, which if true seems a shame to perpetuate. There is something about putting a woman’s thoughts about sex into the mouth of a man that subverts gender roles.

Here they are funny and insightful enough to sustain an hour even if — judging by the faultlessly metrosexual figure of Buxton — they leave the male performer a little wilted by the end.