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Review: Dr Carnesky's Incredible Bleeding Woman

These women are bloody brilliant.

Jane Czyzselska

Tue, 20 Dec 2016 11:43:47 GMT | Updated today

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 their cycle. 

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 Bleeding Woman

Soho Theatre until 7 January 2017

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