Lest there be any confusion, London Hughes is quick to clarify that her show title isn’t some elaborate theatrical metaphor, but simply reflecting a show that’s sweaty with sex.
London Hughes: How To Catch a D*ck, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh * * * *
I counted no fewer than eight oral pleasure mimes, offering some indication of where her priorities lie and her brash physicality as a performer. Possessed of the sort of self-confidence that can talk her way out of being a sacked porn channel host into a presenting job on children’s television, she’s nevertheless beset by one massive, gnawing insecurity. Having just hit 30, and with all of magnificent attributes, how is she still single?
Well, as she admits, some find her “a bit much”. Breaking down the gendered cultural conditioning underpinning that assessment, Hughes is so disgusted by children that she’s certainly not looking to settle down soon. Rather, she’s so libidinous that it’s implied she’s intimidating to men. Having grown up as a nerdy, unfancied adolescent, she acquired her promiscuity and sexual technique in Brighton under her three ‘ho teen friends tutelage, the seaside’s bird population a potent visual metaphor for her blowjob prowess. Indiscreetly gossiping about the celebrity she’s been with, clarifying myths about penis size and black men, she’s unabashed talking about the kinks she’s indulged. Even as one white boyfriend’s role-playing fantasy proved too culturally insensitive for her Caribbean heritage.
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Some might baulk at the gender politics in To Catch a D*ck, where wealth and sex are such nakedly tradable commodities. And irrespective of how tongue-in-cheek, Hughes’ entitled arrogance is breathtaking as well, even if for the most part the primadonnish grandstanding seems entirely justified, bringing a tremendous amount of energy to her intimate room. More importantly, she recognises the things about herself that make her distinctive and very, very funny. Her star quality is incontrovertible.
Until 25 August