I don’t know about you, but I find the idea of standing half-naked in front of a crowd a terrifying prospect. Then to stand up half-naked in front of a crowd of people and make jokes about rape, well this just seems unimaginable. Why would any woman choose to do this? Is she crazy, brave or asking for it?
Adrienne Truscott is possibly a little crazy, definitely brave, and most certainly not asking for it, despite what her show’s called. Rather than ask, Truscott demands that we overlook her pantslessness and listen to her musings on the state of rape in comedy. Concerned with the rising prevalence of rape jokes by comedy blokes and the ever-troublesome statistics, politics and practice of rape itself, she dives muff-first into uncharted territory by turning the subject (and herself) on its head.
“At the very least, can we agree that rape is pretty rude?” she asks the audience, and does a role-play with a guy in the front row about putting milk in his coffee even though he says no. And though she readily admits that her nakedness is a gimmick, it’s not long before you forget about it, which is good, because she’s got so much more up her sleeve. There’s the G&T swilling, the denim jackets, the bras, the pictures of male comedians lined up behind her, with two of them, Bill Cosby and Daniel Tosh, taking pride of place on special tables of their own.
She dances around the subject of Bill Cosby and the recent accusations against him, and I get the feeling she hasn’t quite figured out how to work this fairly newly unearthed material into her show yet. But she uses an incident with Daniel Tosh, who made a lame rape joke about a female heckler, as a springboard to further her arguments about how we deal with free speech and taboo subjects. She uses a lyric by Rick Ross ("Put molly all in her champagne/ She ain't even know it / I took her home and I enjoyed that/ She ain't even know it.") to powerfully prove a point about consent that floats in that uneasy territory between dark comedy and poignancy. It gives the audience pause.
If I had one issue with Truscott’s show, it’s that she doesn’t give the material much room to breathe; she delivers with an urgency that makes her seem nervous at points (and perhaps she is, given the circumstance and the material). The potential is there for a truly staggering show, should she decide to punch even harder with her blows; she’s such a sweet Southern gal at heart, she wants to avoid scaring people away with what she has to say and how she chooses to say it. She wants us on her side.
We are, Adrienne. Go for it.
Laughing Stock Productions presents
ASKING FOR IT
Venue: His Majesty's Theatre | 825 Hay St, Perth WA
Dates: 14 – 16 May 2015
Tickets: $30.00 - $35.00