The Pumphouse Theatre, Takapuna, Auckland

02/12/2020 - 06/12/2020

Production Details

Educating and challenging the taboo at The PumpHouse Theatre  

Thirteen women from diverse backgrounds share the PumpHouse Theatre stage in early December as part of a new professional production of The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler.

Initially planned as a play that was safe to rehearse and perform with social distancing, The Vagina Monologues has morphed into a full ensemble production with the full cast onstage throughout the show, supporting one another and representing how each monologue reflects a universal experience.

The stories explore issues of reproduction, vaginal care, consensual and non-consensual sexual experiences, body image, genital mutilation, menstrual periods, sex work, and everything in-between.  All of the monologues are based on interviews undertaken by the author in the mid 90’s. 

The play is directed by actor and director Meg Andrews who describes it as a “bucket-list” play that she’s always wanted to tackle.

“There is so much fear around talking about vulvas and vaginas. I wanted to direct this play to educate and inspire, empower and entertain,” explains Meg.

“And working with the cast I’ve discovered that it takes a lot to make me feel uncomfortable or embarrassed!”

The Vagina Monologues
The PumpHouse Theatre in Takapuna
Wed 2nd December to Sunday 6th December 2020
Wed-Sat, 8:00pm
Sun, 4:00 pm
Adult $27, Senior $24,
Student $24, Group 6+ $24
No Booking Fees
Book online at 
or call 09 489 8360
Door Sales subject to availability from one hour prior to each performance.

Theatre , Spoken word ,

Breathes contemporary life into this important piece

Review by Shannon Evison 04th Dec 2020

After many postponements due to Covid19 lockdowns, it is a joy to see Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues up on its feet at The Pumphouse Theatre.  

Much like the blood-stained underwear hanging on washing lines above the stage, this play airs some of the more taboo aspects of having a vagina (or vulva), including menstruation, body image, orgasms, masturbation, genital mutilation, sexual abuse and everything in between.

Revolutionary at its time (1996), and raising over 100 million USD for groups working to end violence against women, this show is a series of monologues based upon interviews with over 200 women from different backgrounds about their relationship with their bodies.

Despite the standalone monologue format, Foolish Wit Theatre presents a cohesive, ensemble performance with clever direction from Meg Andrews.

“There is so much fear around talking about vulvas and vaginas. I wanted to direct this play to educate and inspire, empower and entertain,” explains Meg.

Beginning in a human pile in the middle of the stage, the diverse cast of 12 breathe, moan, laugh, cry and support each other on stage throughout the entire show.

The direction is particularly effective in the ‘vagina workshop’ scene, where the ensemble contort their bodies, mirrors in hand, trying to locate the elusive ‘clitoris’. This forms the backdrop to Lauren Middleton’s speech, adding humour and dynamism to support her highly strung character’s quest for ‘vaginal wonder’.

The lighting design (Julia Rutherford) is simple and effective, amplifying the shifts between drama and comedy with ease. Interestingly, despite this being a series of monologues, applause is withheld until the very end, perhaps further emphasizing that this is a group effort.

This tight ensemble work comes to a glorious crescendo in the ‘Reclaiming Cunt’ monologue, where the entire cast create a percussive soundscape that surprises and delights.

The audience can audibly be heard squealing with awkwardness in the show’s lighter moments, as the cast explore the messy side of vaginas and vulvas, including smell, hair, shame and self-consciousness.

Jade du Preez plays the lawyer-turned-sex-worker well (I read in the programme that she is, funnily enough, a lawyer in real life). Her very nuanced orgasm impressions are hilarious, with chortles rippling through the audience as she climaxes with ‘THE COMBO CLIT-VAGINAL MOAN. EH-OH, EH-OH, EH-OH…’

Another standout performance is delivered by Francesca Browne as she recalls a past sexual partner who helped her to truly ‘see’ and begin to love her vagina. Her storytelling is naturalistic, self-deprecating (in a very ‘Kiwi’ way) and highly relatable.

The substitution of New Zealand place names helps to locate the piece in contemporary Aotearoa. There is even a memorable shout out to a “Caltex in Te Awamutu”, getting one of the biggest laughs of the night.

Despite the comedy, the more serious moments are poignant, and the themes of sexual abuse and female genital mutilation, sadly remain very relevant in 2020.

Jenn Onyeiwu’s monologue exploring her character’s sexual abuse is chilling, raw and heartbreaking. With 1 in 3 women experiencing sexual abuse in their lifetime, it serves as a sobering reminder of how far we have yet to go.

The narration (although necessary to provide context to the monologues) does feel a little preachy at times and there are a few moments where this play’s age shows. However Foolish Wit Theatre have done an incredible job at breathing contemporary life into this important piece.

As the cast joyously boogie across the stage to Lizzo’s ‘Good as Hell’ in the curtain call, it certainly does feel good as hell to be seeing live theatre again.


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