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Are these the most explicit shows in Cambridge? Students stage 'The Vibrator Play' and Cambridge Junction has a festival of the 'risqué'

Audiences may be blushing at some of the latest shows coming to the stage in Cambridge.

Next week sees the launch of the provocative historical piece, In The Next Room, which is also known by its subtitle: The Vibrator Play.

The cast of In The Next Room: The Vibrator Play. Picture: Grace Glevey
The cast of In The Next Room: The Vibrator Play. Picture: Grace Glevey

This will be followed by a one day festival at the Cambridge Junction - Watch Out - which promises a “celebration of the fresh and the experimental, the unusual and the risqué”.

Alex Ridley, director of In The Next Room, which is being staged by students at the ADC Theatre, says: “This play is based on historical fact and is about a scientist, Dr. Givings, who has just started using his new medical tool, the vibrator, to treat ‘hysterical’ women.

“It immediately appealed to my more nerdy historian side,” she says. “I think audiences will be surprised by how un-sexual the play actually is. The vibrator was invented and used in a medical setting, and Sarah Ruhl, the playwright, includes reminders in the script that this was a pre-porn world, where these women wouldn’t have had preconceptions as to how they were meant to sound or act during the orgasms.”

As director, Alex says she has worked with the actors to help them feel unembarrassed about playing these characters. “In the 1880s, when this play is set, these women would not connect this treatment with their sexuality. The vibrator was used to treat a mental health condition.

Cast of In The Next Room: The Vibrator Play. Picture: Grace Glevey
Cast of In The Next Room: The Vibrator Play. Picture: Grace Glevey

“Also, the Victorians wore a lot of layers! No one will be getting naked on stage. The play is really about the emotions of those involved and the questions Dr Giving’s wife has about what exactly is going on in his surgery, which is in the next room to her as she looks after their baby

“People think the Victorians never talked about sex, but that’s not true,” she says. However, audiences should not be worried about being shocked.

“It if historically accurate, so if you can cope with something the Victorians were prepared to discuss, you will be fine.”

To be completely historically accurate, the play does have an antique vibrator as part of the props. “It’s probably from the 1920s,” says Alex, “But we were surprised to find out it still worked.”

Cast of In The Next Room: The Vibrator Play. Picture: Grace Glevey
Cast of In The Next Room: The Vibrator Play. Picture: Grace Glevey

In the Next Room, or The Vibrator Play, or the vibrator play is coming to the ADC Theatre from Tuesday, May 21 through Saturday, May 25 at 7:45 pm. Tickets from £8. Box office ADC Theatre

Meanwhile, the one day Watch Out festival is taking place at Cambridge Junction on Saturday, May 25.

It promises to be “a celebration of the fresh and the experimental, the unusual and the risqué”, according to the organisers, with shows picked as part of the arts centre’s ongoing commitment to the development of contemporary performance from regional, national and international artists. The programme consists of a showcase of performances, all rooted in the desire to take risks with new ideas.

Cambridge Junction Arts Producer Daniel Kok said: “We’re excited to announce the line-up for WATCH OUT 2019 - come join us for a day of disruptive theatre and dance from renowned UK and international artists. It’s an exciting opportunity for audiences to experience new work and see award winning performances all in one place. See you at the bar.”

Lucy McCormick (10439256)
Lucy McCormick (10439256)

Finnish-Egyptian artist Samira Elagoz brings her hit show C**k C**k… Who’s There? to the festival following a hugely successful Edinburgh run last year where it scooped a Total Theatre Award. Based on her personal experience of rape, Elagoz takes the audience on her journey of regaining power and attempts to relate to men.

Award-winning French choreographer Lola Maury returns to Cambridge following her recent performance at the Cambridge Buddhist Centre with BROUHAHA, a new piece which mixes voice, multi-channel composition and movement.

Returning to the festival are the “achingly hip and terrifyingly savage” (The Guardian) theatre companyMade In China with a work in progress sharing of new piece Smithereens, as well as collaborator andWATCH OUT stalwart Ira Brand with new show Ways To Submit.

Belgian dance artist Hannah De Meyer will present Levitations, a piece where hope and despair, being and not being, sexuality, love and death rub shoulders.

Levitations (10439265)
Levitations (10439265)

Following her hugely popular Triple Threat Lucy McCormick is back with an extract of her latest show Life: Live! - a subversive, immersive narrative concept album about a woman who gets overwhelmed in a supermarket.

This year’s festival is hosted by London based performance artist Vijay Patel, who is noted for his boundary crossing cabaret performances.

Vijay Patel (10439267)
Vijay Patel (10439267)

Meatless, Guerilla Kitchen’s sister van will be serving food outside the venue, with cocktails and craft ale available inside, and an after party in the form of Luca Rutherford’s Political Party Disco.

Sat 25 May 2019 | Cambridge Junction | from 12 noon

Box Office: 01223 511 511 | junction.co.uk

Festival passes: £25 (£10 con)

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