Comedy review: The Ruby Darlings: Lil’ Darling’s Lady Power

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe: To get a sense of where female pleasure and reproductive health come in the grand, patriarchal scheme of things, consider the fact that humanity walked on the moon and invented the internet before getting round to comprehensively anatomising the clitoris.

Voodoo Rooms (Venue 68)

****

That’s just one of the infuriating facts fuelling Lady Power, a charming and moderately obscene solo show in which the glamorous Lil’ Darling uses stand-up and song to take us on “a marvellous journey inside my vagina and out the other side”.

After a liberationist opening number involving a cavalcade of vaginal euphemisms, Lil’ Darling zeroes in the increasingly stringent expectations around female anatomy, from the absurd (the vagaries of pubic fashion) to the alarming (the rise in genital plastic surgery among teenagers). This develops with with eye-opening considerations of online misogyny and menstrual health before swerving into satirical impersonation and relationship comedy. The momentum takes something of a dip at this point – what had felt like a building argument settles into more of a succession of larky numbers – but the songs remain consistently funny and are executed with charisma and style.

Lady Power is also kept on point by Lil’ Darling’s assured control of the energy in the room. As a member of cabaret troupe the Ruby Darlings, she is skilled at audience engagement. She solicits uninhibited discussion from women about subjects often skated over or erased in public discourse and she keeps male audience members involved and engaged without pandering in the least to macho egos or fragile masculinity. It makes for a convivial and conversational show as well as a witty, revealing and surprising one. You are also guaranteed to come away with at least two colourful new euphemisms.

Until 16 August. Today 10:30pm.