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Ad Libido review at Vaults, London – ‘relentlessly hilarious’

Fran Bushe in Ad Libido at Vault festival, London Fran Bushe in Ad Libido at Vault festival, London
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Like around a third of the female population, Fran Bushe suffers from female sexual dysfunction. For her, sex has always been tricky, painful, and largely unfulfilling. This solo show chronicles her attempts to change that. She’s a woman on a mission: she’s going to fix sex.

Over the course of a relentlessly hilarious hour, she recreates conversations with unhelpful doctors, she sings songs about her male friends’ cocksure (literally) advice, and, in a deliriously funny section, she describes her experiences at sex camp – yep, she went on a week-long retreat to a hippie sex therapy cult, where they “put the nasty back in namaste”.

Bushe is an energetic, entertaining performer, as expressive with her body as she is with her face. Her real skill, though, is as a lyricist. Like when her preening pal Paulo offers his sexual services: “I’ll make you tick, Fran, I’ll make you frantic / I’ll put the man into romantic / hold on Fran this’ll be gigantic / I’ll make you wet like the Atlantic.” Just sublime.

But these aren’t laughs of ridicule, they’re laughs of recognition. As Bushe makes clear, sexual dysfunction is a genuine problem that genuinely affects all of us, whether we know it or not. Like Isley Lynn’s superb Skin A Cat did before it, Ad Libido assures us that there really is no such thing as “normal sex” and that it’s okay to talk about it. And it does so with songs, smiles and glorious silliness.

Performer and writer Fran Bushe: ‘Do I want to talk about my vagina on stage?; What will that mean for the future?’

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Verdict
A funny and frank solo show about female sexual dysfunction, with songs
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