Review: Femme Natale @ Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Just The Tonic- The Mash House)- 19th August 2023

9.0 Hilarious

A rather amusing look at parenting through theatre.

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Femme Natale’s description immediately drew me in- a comedic show about parenting dubbed ‘the best contraceptive in town’ sounded funny and light-hearted and truly I laughed the whole way through.

The show begins with the sound of moaning and then transitions to a husband (Jeremy Nelson) asking his wife (Fingal Pollock) what it’s like to be pregnant. Thunder crashes and suddenly the man has a pregnancy belly and is going through labour! This was totally unexpected and while I wasn’t quite sure what I was watching, or whether this was the whole show, I was intrigued and laughing along. What followed was a series of skits depicting the true experience of parenting, with a range of hilarious costumes.

Throughout the show we saw women dressed as breasts, three mums of differing involvements discussing motherhood and secretly hating on each other and even a sketch where a baby (played by grown man Jeremy Nelson) eats at a “restaurant” and causes extreme mess- a play on breakfast time with a baby. A standout skit for me was Labia Who Lunch where the group’s three ladies’ Fingal Pollock, April Phillips and Tracey Savage dress as labia meeting for lunch and gossip about their most recent action. April Phillips’ labia lusts over a younger man in her office while Fingal Pollock’s labia has recently been stitched up as a result of giving birth. A waiter (Jeremy Nelson) even comes to deliver drinks but can’t seem to find these ladies to satisfy their craving- hilarious!

Via Michelle Mangan

Even transitioning between scenes, the group had the audience entertained. When moving was necessary, a life-size bloodied period pad (Sonja Quita Doubleday) would reluctantly wander on to amend the stage as needed, at times even clutching a hot water bottle or a bar of chocolate which she offered to the audience. Further into the show this period pad, accompanied by a sluggish musical theme would compete with the elegant life-size menstrual cup (Fingal Pollock) who danced on like a ballerina with the music to match! Unfortunately, she soon filled up with red balloons and was beaten by the trusty period pad after all.

One has to commend the group for their dedication to their show, their costumes were hysterical with the ladies’ costumes including breasts, a period pad, a menstrual cup, and even labia complete with varying pubic hair! Jeremy Nelson’s costumes weren’t anything different as he appeared as a pregnant man, a giant adult baby dressed only in a nappy, and even a penis. The standout star for me was Tracey Savage, with her line delivery reminiscent of Dawn French, her comedic style was flawless, especially when she reeled off a long list of the jobs she had as a mother to an interviewer in a sketch she wrote. However, I found the whole cast amusing and Fingal Pollock, who wrote the majority of the sketches and directed the show, showed her impressive vocals as she led the closing musical number, which left the show on a positive, hopeful note as the parents emerged on the other side of the young child age. I would definitely recommend the show as a hilarious perspective on parenting which doesn’t hide the truth but rather highlights the amusement in it.


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