Hilarity meets reality in Femme Natale, an adult only sketch comedy show that puts the early years of parenthood in the comedy spotlight. The show was in Taranaki as part of the Right Royal Cabaret Fest.
Many of the individual sketches are written by the incredibly talented Fingal Pollock (who also directs the show as well as appearing in it), with sketches by Tracey Savage, May-Lou Harris, Rachel Millar and April Phillips also featuring. Tracey and April also feature on stage on the night.
The harsh but funny take on everything from pregnancy, competitive parenting, breastfeeding through to sex after babies is certainly a laugh a second, but still makes some poignant points.
Tracey's sketch The Interview perfectly highlights the difficulties women can face when trying to return to the workforce after having children, while Fingal's Quantum Nappies monologue shines a light on the huge gap between a woman's potential and what she can be reduced to in the daily grind of parenting.
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A woman's potential is also touched upon in another sketch written by Fingal, this time starring April alongside "token male" Jeremy Nelson, "Napping on the Bathroom Floor". The line, "I was so beautiful on my wedding day" gets the laughs, but also resonates with anyone who has found themselves wondering what happened to their pre-baby self.
The set itself is simple, albeit brilliantly changed between scenes by Taranaki actress Julie Trigger, who does so silently and grumpily while dressed as a giant sanitary pad, and the costumes are as funny as the sketches themselves. The costumes in Labia Who Lunch, written by Fingal, "treat" the audience to the sight of three "lady parts" discussing life after babies, while in Breasts (by April Phillips) two giant breasts discuss their different views on life as a mammary gland. As for Fingal Pollock's sketch Rekindling the Flame, let's just she and Jeremy are dressed up as the specific body parts trying to light that fire.
With so many jokes and punchlines at the expense of parenting, it is a nice touch to end the show with a final, more uplifting, sketch/song - "Out the other side". Once again written by Fingal the song reminds us all there is light at the end of the parenting tunnel.
From start to finish the show is a fabulously funny take on parenting that will resonate with anyone who has had a baby. You'll still be laughing long after the show ends, so do make sure you have done those Kegel exercises your midwife told you about though.