The Vagina Monologues is one of those productions that is usually described as "challenging" and the decision of a local company to present it as "brave".

And so it was that Witham Dramatic Club challenged their audience with ten women’s different takes on the part of the body in question.

It was pointed, poignant, punchy, angry, funny. Sometimes very angry. Often very funny.

The staging was simple, tiered seating on which the women, all in white tops and blue jeans, stood or sat, sometimes spoke in unison, mostly just appreciated the varied experiences being outlined.

There were orations on hair, on periods, birth, wild dreams, fantasies and on naming various parts of the body, including the itsy bitsy (yes, that part).

There was also a fake orgasm that would have made Meg Ryan blanch.

The light was mixed with the dark, including a heart-rending litany of rape stories and descriptions of life as a Japanese ‘comfort woman’.

The audience sat at cabaret-style tables.

The night I attended, it included six men. On the previous night, just two. Those who chickened out missed an enjoyable, provoking and often moving evening. 

And for that thanks go to Amanda Bedwell, Viv Carey, Alexandra Charalampidis – making her stage debut – Anne Dyster, Kris Knox-Crichton, Lucy Parrett, Aimee Sanderson, Lynda Saunders, Rebecca Skingley and Tracy Skingley.

Ron Fosker