Show: Not Yet Suffragette
Star Rating: ****
Reviewer: Ana Hine
Natalie Cutler shines in this one-woman-show about the struggle for women’s rights across the last century. While she may concentrate on the experience of white middle-class women, it’s more as a means to focus the show, rather than an attempt at exclusion.
Cutler starts in the midst of the First World War with Flora Sandes, the only woman to serve as a British officer during the conflict, and continues at a swift pace through the decades. Occasionally she puts on the persona of various male politicians thanking women for their service but requesting they return back to their homes. Various refrains are repeated, such as; “The men are back now.”
A section where Cutler plays the part of a line manager for a pool of typists is particularly compelling. “My name is June, but you can call me Jules, the boss likes that,” she says, before proceeding to judge the nails of the women in the front row of the audience, declaring, “Have you never heard of a manicure,” when she observes my, admittedly shoddy nail varnish.
This light-hearted tone continues for much of the act, until about ten minutes towards the end. Cutler, dressed up in over-the-top make up with padding to emphasise her butt, is commenting on Instagram-feminism when suddenly the lights go red and the tone shifts.
She wants us to know that there are women currently serving life in prison, in El Salvador, for having a miscarriage. Cutler does not shy away from recreating the scenarios, and she is unapologetic in her approach. This is happening, and she wants her audience to know about it. Which is, it’s understandable. I’m not here to criticise her choice.
Overall, if you don’t mind paying for your laughter then this is a great show. But be aware that the last ten minutes are intense and you will find yourself thinking about it long after the show has ended. Maybe that’s the point.