Femme Natale: The Queen Years - Reviewed by Tanya Piejus | Regional News Connecting Wellington
Fingal Pollock as Wonder Wom(b)an | Issue

Fingal Pollock as Wonder Wom(b)an

Femme Natale: The Queen Years

Directed by: Fingal Pollock

BATS Theatre, 30th May 2024

Reviewed by: Tanya Piejus

What happens after happily ever after? This is the question posed by Femme Natale: The Queen Years and the answer is an R18, mirth-filled catalogue of the woes of child-rearing and sex after 40. It’s co-written and performed by a talented cast of director Fingal Pollock, April Phillips, Jeremy Nelson, Tracey Savage, and Piers Gilbertson. Special guest Megan Connolly greets us when we enter the auditorium as a yawning and grumpy sanitary pad (used) handing out programmes.

A series of short sketches, the production jumps from patronising and competitive soccer mums with kids called Jupiter and Monty to a clever reverse wedding in which the vows become the tenets of divorce, a medieval version of parental angst over technology, a poetically frustrated flight attendant dispensing tea and coffee, and songs about online dating, head lice, and a joyous lack of parental guilt and regret.

Having had more than my fair share of mammograms, I got a big laugh out of the excitable mammary pair (Phillips and Savage) getting their first breast test and squeezing as many boob jokes out of it as possible. The desperate vulva (Phillips) who appears as an interlude between sketches becomes progressively more hilarious as she cavorts with a multi-function pink vibrator (Gilbertson) towards a spectacular climax to the disappointment of her husband’s real, but sadly less performative, genitals (Nelson). Guest writer Pinky Agnew’s contribution delivers one of the funniest sketches of the night in which a grandchild-obsessed nanna peddles plastic toys, Nerf guns, and sugar.

All the performers take on their varying roles with gusto and a complete lack of shame. They are clearly channelling elements of their personal experiences and having a great time doing it. Supported by an effective lighting design (Malcolm Gillett, who also co-wrote a sketch) and some choice music, this is a highly entertaining hour of fun for those post-40 or for younger ones yearning to know what they have (not) to look forward to.

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