Blood, Sweat and Vaginas is Paula David’s fantastic journey of self-discovery, sexuality and comedic blunders. This show is suffused with raw honesty, taking an unfiltered look into what it means to experience life as an older woman, and this does not mean one’s enjoyment and capacity for adventure is gone. David makes us feel at home and utterly welcome in her company, making her show a fun-filled success.
Daring to discuss and confront the topics society leaves behind
David pushes against the stereotype of the indestructible black woman, demanding the space that everyone needs to be vulnerable and lost. She achieves this through a motif of physical theatre and original soul tunes which gives the piece rhythm and makes us feel as if we are truly looking inside her mind. This started off as jumbled and somewhat confusing, but the writing soon found its feet and I found myself enveloped in the story. The play shows us that mothers are not defined purely by motherhood, but have interests and desires beyond the realms of their children; motherhood does not signal the end of one’s sexual prowess or understanding. David displays brilliant emotional range as Carolann, hyping herself to go clubbing to questioning her adequacy as a mother; we are exposed to every aspect of her life. The narrative moves onto same sex encounters, displaying the joy and fulfilment that can come from this, and that there is no age limit on exploring one’s sexuality.
The highlight of the show is the way in which it tackles living through the menopause and how it affects one’s ability to carry out everyday tasks and commitments. Whilst trying to pursue her sexual urges, her fitness or hobbies, Carolann is hit with hot flushes and brain fog. David perfectly expresses how the menopause, something so often looked over or silenced, is a real and difficult issue that women at mid-life deal with. This feeds into how difficult it is to uphold the stereotype of the reliable mother or the strong and confident woman despite all the odds being stacked against you. From all this confusion comes a sense of beautiful clarity, as Carolann discovers that one needs to get to know themselves to understand what one truly wants from life.
Blood, Sweat and Vaginas welcomes us with open arms, daring to discuss and confront the topics society leaves behind.