During menses, the oesophagus
swells, so cis-women who eat swords for a living must choose the
length of their swords carefully depending on where they are in
It was through a near fatal incident
with a sword that circus sideshow performer MisSa Blue discovered
this fact, so when we see her perform, the length she uses suggests
she is definitely not on the blob.
This is just one of many fascinating
facts gleaned by attending Dr Carnesky's Incredible Bleeding Woman,
a show that is as much about female power as it is about
menstruation and bloody rites and rituals.
Presented by Carnesky, part
menstrual academician, part Joyce Grenfell, we are introduced to
The Menstruants, a gloriously intersectional group of women from
London's cabaret scene who perform individual and collective works
that come from a three month menstrual residency in Southend and
regular gatherings under the dark moon.
Veronica Thompson aka Fancy Chance
hangs by her thick dark hair on a meat hook as blood drips down her
face and tattooed body. H Plewis and her daughter Sula, the
youngest Menstruant, rubs red jelly - made with her own menstrual
blood - over her body. Molly Beth Morossa performs an elaborate
tea-drinking ritual with a thick liquid that keens like red
mercury. Rhyannon Styles reflects on the emotional and cathartic
ebbs and flows she experienced during the residency, bringing a
fascinating trans menstrual perspective.
Aside from the awe-inspiring show of
female strength, ingenuity and fun, there is also a serious side
that calls us to celebrate the "last taboo", the messy and
life-giving red liquid that flows from our vaginas every month; the
cyclical event that tampon and "sanitary" wear manufacturers
characterise as shameful, dirty and unwanted.
Those who want to give the bloody
finger to the patriarchal menstrual nay-sayers might consider
joining Carnesky's band of menstrual activists, or Menstronauts, to
raise awareness of the importance of the cycle and global issues
relating to women's bodies and their menstrual rights. These women
are bloody brilliant! See the show and join them!
Dr Carnesky's Incredible
Soho Theatre www.sohotheatre.co.uk until 7 January