Entering The Vagabond tent in a gorgeous long black velvet dress with sequinned waist, Judith Lucy makes it immediately clear this stand-up show will have an interactive element.
She wants our help to answer a question that is genuinely bothering her: Should she hang up her vagina for good?
After confirming what she already suspected – that her fans are overwhelmingly women and gay men – Lucy selects a “love jury” of six who are issued with “Yes/No” paddles that they will be asked to vote with when she asks this question later in the show. (The fact that one of the jury members on this particular night revealed her own husband had recently “fired” her, after 35 years of marriage, for chewing too loudly, was an unexpected bonus.)
Presenting her case, Lucy lays out a love life with more downs than ups – but some ups and downs, too – from Grade 1 all the way through to her recent five-year relationship, the fairytale without the happy-ever-after which ended suddenly, leaving her single at 50.
Nothing is off limits in her long list of laments, which covers not just the perils of dating men but also of middle age. She touches on everything from masturbation, menstruation and menopause, to pelvic floor examinations, heavy petting and anal sex. Even crochet and Namaste get a mention.
While some of Lucy’s history with men will be familiar to her fans, her dry yet engaging delivery, wry expressions and sharing of stories both hilarious and tragic sees the audience veering between laughter, sounds of sympathy and cheers of encouragement.
The crux of the problem, she says, is “whatever it is that I’m selling, a lot of straight guys simply aren’t that interested in buying it”.
When it comes time to deciding if she should continue suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous men, your answer may depend on whether you’re a romantic or a pragmatist. Either way, she’ll give you something to think about.
But the vote is not quite the end of Judith Lucy Vs Men. That, I promise you, is completely out of the box.
Judith Lucy Vs Men is at The Vagabond, Garden of Unearthly Delights, until March 3. See more Adelaide Fringe reviews and stories here.