Fringe Bar, 26-32 Allen St, Te Aro, Wellington

05/05/2015 - 09/05/2015

Basement Theatre Studio, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

25/04/2015 - 02/05/2015

NZ International Comedy Festival 2015

Production Details

Laughing Stock Productions 

Adrienne Truscott’s Asking For It

A One-Lady Rape About Comedy Starring Her Pussy and Little Else

Adrienne Truscott, one-half of the infamous Wau Wau Sisters, dressed only from the waist up and ankles down, undoes the rules and rhetoric about rape and comedy and the space in between.
The Edinburgh season of Asking For It left critics and audiences alike reeling. With commentary from George Carlin, Louis C. K. and Robert De Niro, she takes on polka-dots, pussy-puppets, mini-skirts, rape whistles, Daniel Tosh, Rick Ross and enough gin and tonics and bad behavior to get a girl in trouble.
Heavy at its core, this piece is light on its feet and easy on the eye and Adrienne plans to make jokes about rape, all night long, even if you tell her to stop.
If her behavior suggests that she’s ‘asking for it’ then common folly dictates that we already know the ‘finale’ to this show. Confronting the audience with this possible arc, she mixes stand-up, video, nudity and some whimsical dance while undoing and doing in the rules and rhetoric about rape, comedy and the brilliant, awful (or awkward) laughs when the two collide.
Adrienne Truscott is a choreographer, circus acrobat, dancer, writer and as of late, comedian. She has been making genre-straddling work in New York City and abroad for over 15 years and has performed at the Brisbane Festival, Edinburgh, Adelaide, Melbourne Comedy, Brighton and Perth Fringe Festivals, as well as the Sydney Opera House, and many other iconic venues. She has worked with cult cabaret legends Kiki and Herb, Meow Meow, and John Cameron Mitchell (Shortbus).
In the Wau Wau Sisters, she has thrilled Australian audiences at Le Clique and La Soiree and their own genre-defining evening-length shows for the past few years. Asking For It is an extraordinary next step.
“An exhilarating hour… firecracker wit, sophistication and luminous humanity” – The Guardian (UK)
A brilliantly bold and thoroughly engaging provocation” – The Times (UK)
Brutal, brilliant & brave… This is without doubt the most powerful hour of comedy” – Scotsman (UK)
“If you missed this show then you missed the Fringe” – The Skinny (UK)


★★★★★ The Guardian
★★★★★ The Skinny
★★★★★ Three Weeks
★★★★★ Time Out
★★★★ Broadway Baby
★★★★ SMH
★★★★ The List
★★★★ The Times
★★★★ The Scotsman
★★★★ Beat
★★★★ Rip It Up
★★★★ The Age
As part of the 2015 NZ International Comedy Festival in cahoots with Old Mout Cider, for some great laughs, grab your favourite people and join us from 24 April – 17 May.



Sat 25 April, Tue 28 April – Sat 2 May, 10pm

Tickets: Tue, Wed, Thur Adults $28.00 Conc. $24.00 Fri, Sat Adults $32.00* service fees may apply

Bookings: 0505 iTicket (484 253)


Tue 5 – Sat 9 May, 8.30pm

Tue, Wed, Thur Adults $28.00 Conc. $24.00 Fri, Sat Adults $32.00* service fees may apply

Bookings: 0800 TICKETEK (842 538)


Theatre , Comedy ,

1 hour

Funny and knife-edge subversive

Review by Lena Fransham 06th May 2015

‘I’m not into gimmicks’, quips Adrienne Truscott, having spent the first quarter of the show naked from the waist down. The nakedness is at first confronting, but becomes somehow a helpful mitigation of the riskiness of the material. The breaking of the public nakedness taboo, after the initial shock, shoves us into a realm of uncertainty. Leave your comfort zone at the door. This is a loud, opinionated nearly-naked woman who is not reassuringly packaged into a pornographic caricature – anything could happen!   

She’s been doing this show internationally for some time. Her initially too-polished stage patter is a little hard to warm to at first, and although she’s sparking from the get-go, the chemistry doesn’t really start to happen until a little while in.

The nakedness is half-absurd, half awkward as hell, and gets more so when she approaches male members of the audience to engage them in allegorical role plays about consent. The reluctance of one man, when under pressure to play along, amply illustrates one of her points, and while she appears respectful it seems in making this point with him she may be unfairly crossing a line. I don’t know how I would have felt in his position.

Truscott acknowledges that she may get too offensive for some of us, and encourages us to ‘blow the rape whistle’ if she goes too far. The politics of the rape whistle itself, of course, is also in for some pithy interrogationin the course of the show.

Once we’re all acquainted, she hits her strides big time. With allegory, gender reversal, the odd jaw-dropping iconoclasm and outrageously silly innovations with AV projections, she mocks, parodies and dismantles the usual old assumptions on consent, various modes of victim blame and some of the more ridiculous debates issuing from public figures – like Todd Akin on ‘legitimate rape’.

Addressing a number of comedians who seem to be resorting to rape jokes these days, she walks subversively into the midst of the comedic discourse to explore what they find so funny, but in taking them on she is unexpectedly warm and human about it. In the playfully teasing tone of a big sister, she slyly exploits the breach, meeting the ‘rape joke’ (a la Daniel Tosh) on its own terms in a hilarious but annihilating rhetorical smackdown.  

I don’t think I’ve seen comedy this gutsy. Funny and knife-edge subversive. 


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Bottomless capacity for thought-provoking humour

Review by Nik Smythe 27th Apr 2015

The woman of the hour enters in her obviously-fake blonde wig, denim jacket, heels and nothing-in-between. Adrienne Truscott’s nicely groomed bare nether-regions have the potential to function equally as a socio-sexually political statement and a salacious selling point.

Claiming as she does to be new to this comedy game, she put some research into what forms of humour are currently in vogue, concluding that her best shot at success would have to be an hour-long in-depth exploitation and/or analysis of rape humour. 

To illustrate this perve-view she has numerous framed photos of popular faces from the world of comedy set about, each of whom have documented examples of rape jokes in their repertoire – Jimmy Carr, Jim Jeffries, Daniel Tosh et al.  Set apart from the others is the smiling face of Bill Cosby, present for a slightly different reason, not being a practitioner of rape humour as such, but…

The semi-nudity device is utilised to the fullest when employed as a backdrop for various audio-visual projections, primarily of comedians and other performers, again known for their controversial use of rape and misogyny themes in their work.  Regarding the conspicuous (but ultimately oddly normal) costume and lack thereof, Truscott believably claims to be feeling super-comfortable ‘even if none of you guys do’.

That said, her mannerisms and delivery are just slightly but noticeably awkward and edgy, as though unable or simply unwilling to let herself settle comfortably into the material, which is understandable.  In any case said awkward edge serves the comedy well, especially when highlighting certain legal absurdities around where she’s from (Brooklyn New York) such as the ‘legitimate rape’ bill put forward by some certifiably insane senator. 

Truscott frequently questions the humorous validity of rape jokes, like whether it ever can be funny or whether they are worse or better than puns, but there’s no deep moral overtone as such.  It’s hardly required as the atrocity speaks so well for itself to any compassionate listener that to emphasise it would seem patronising.  She doesn’t condemn any off-colour form of content outright, but rightly addresses the debate in which, if it should be every comedian’s right to work uncensored, does that extend to having the right to not be funny? 

I’m loath to impart examples of punch-lines, not only for reasons of spoilage but because on the stark page the gags would seem creepy and grim, as indeed they are on analysis.  Yet couched as they are in clever wit and comic timing, these horrendous observational anecdotes are genuinely funny up front, albeit that awkward guilt-laced funny-cause-its-wrong kind of funny that rape humour exemplifies. 

So are rape jokes worse than puns?  Apparently not, judging by this Auckland opening night audience’s respective reactions to each.  It is, however, the singer not the song, and Truscott’s appealing personality and capacity for making courageous, thought-provoking comedy look as easy as taking your panties off is more than just virtually bottomless.  If the only criterion for comedy is to be funny, she certainly achieves it.


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