Ad Libido -Soho Theatre review: ‘A joyous, questioning piece about Female Sexual Dysfunction’

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Ad Libido was selected for Litmus Fest at the Pleasance Theatre last year and following a successful run at Vault and the Fringe, it now arrives at Soho theatre.

Fran Bushe’s comedy show tells the story of her long ordeal of trying to enjoy sex ever since the age of 16. Now 31, Fran has been diagnosed with ‘Female Sexual Dysfunction’ a rather antiquated term for women who don’t enjoy penetration. Told with warmth and sincerity, she keeps nothing back as she reads verbatim from her teenage diaries, describes her admiration for dolphins in coitus and recounts her adventures at a sex camp.

We’re also treated to songs inspired by past lovers, including ‘I can Fix You’ about a man who thinks he is the best at sex and an ode to being honest in the bedroom.

While being very, very specific about Fran’s misadventures, the tightly-structured play also strikes a universal note about the pressures women and girls are put under to perform and cater to mens’ egos in the bedroom.

 With a set covered in gold tinsel and Fran’s turquoise dungarees and glitter top sparkling up the room, its hard to feel down about Fran’s sad Yoni. This is ultimately an uplifting show about self-acceptance and self-expression – and Doing It on your own terms.

The audience are treated to free lube and asked to write messages to their teenage selves, inspired by the play – which Fran posts to her Instagram – there are plenty of notes saying ‘It’s OK to Wait’ but quite a lot along the lines of ‘Everything will be fine’ and ‘Sex isn’t wrong’. If there’s one show to send your teenage daughters to, let it be this imaginative, fun and ultimately uplifting one.

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