Madame Ovary
The Studio, Vault Festival
Tuesday 18th - Sunday 23rd February 2020

For most of us, the idea of New Year Resolutions would result in learning a new skill, quit smoking, or loosing weight. In 2018, Rosa Hesmondhaigh's case wants to make good art, start doing yoga, but will not give up the booze as she has a tinder date coming up and she would not be able to face it sober. For the majority of the audience, we know what we are about to witness in sorts, but nothing will compare to the journey in which Rosa takes us on; you'll feel numb of emotion at times and salute the bravery in the performance on stage, because even though Rosa would have told this tale many times in past performances, it feels as fresh and raw as it could ever be, and will take your breath away.

It's early February 2018 when Rosa starts getting pains in her stomach, and numbness in her legs. She spends hour upon hour in hospital, until she is given the heartbreaking news; Rosa has Cancer. Though we see it coming, it hits the audience like nothing I have experienced before; the likeability and kindness that Rosa throws at us on stage is the subject to a warrior, one who's bravery is paramount to tell such a story and go back to those difficult times.

We hear about every step of her journey, and never since Come From Away have I seen an audience jump to their feet come the end of a performance, though it felt in this case more like a virtual hug; Rosa's story is just one of the millions, but is a particular sensational tale with images, footage, and support to hold Rosa up, with even a cameo from Louis Theroux thrown in that will have you welling up in your seat.

I also want to take this time to commend the Vault Festival staff, who during this performance had to deal with a first aid incident in the audience. The professional between the team was handled carefully, and afterwards we were asked if we wanted a cup of water for the remainder of the production as it resumed where Rosa had to pause.

Overall, Madame Ovary is an extraordinary story of bravery from a beautiful soul as Rosa Hesmondhaigh; her skill in storytelling is rapid with genuine humour jumping from the page, and with a tour of the show going through till the end of March, you will not want to miss the opportunity in catching Madame Ovary in person - this is a one woman show like no other, and one that will not be forgotten.


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