Hymen Manoeuvre is the light hearted story of Mok’s first time having sex with a dark, more serious undertone. A confident and direct delivery allows her to successfully inject humour into the incredibly sensitive material.
Evelyn Mok is a self-proclaimed ‘graceless gal’ whose debut hour in Edinburgh provides a blunt and unapologetic retelling of the loss of her virginity. The set includes some familiar and well-rehearsed routines about the dynamics of her friendship group during a trip to ‘the club’ and a positive spin on her recent gout diagnosis.
The in depth, and at times uncomfortably graphic, description of her first sexual experience – consisting of faked pleasure, awkward eye contact and a painful attempt at clitoral stimulation – ignites some particularly empathetic laughter from almost every woman in the audience. Another impressive facet of the show is Mok’s vocabulary – I have never heard such colourful synonyms of the word vagina.
Mok provides a fascinating analysis of the emotional and social consequences of living as a plus sized Asian woman in the sexually liberated, and at times racist, Sweden and eventually the more culturally sensitive metropolitan London. She is also quick to acknowledge her privilege, comparing her first world problems to the hardships that her older relatives faced when living in stark poverty, such as her grandmother’s journey from China to India on bound feet.
Despite her vulnerability throughout the show, Mok isn’t afraid to call out a quiet audience. Conveying impressive skills in audience engagement, she gets to know them, repeatedly referring to some throughout the show and bouncing off of their comments with her brilliantly sharp wit.
Hymen Manœuvre includes lots of entertaining anecdotes – a story about the hilarious consequences of Mok being prescribed hormone supplements and let loose on the dating app Bumble during last year’s Edinburgh Fringe festival is a particular highlight.
In Hymen Manœuvre, Mok moves past her brash persona and exposes her insecurities – a perfect Edinburgh debut for a comedian that we’re likely to see a lot more of in the future.
Evelyn Mok: Hymen Manœuvre
image: James Deacon