How I Became A Dominatrix – Camden Fringe

How I Became A Dominatrix is exactly what it says on the tin, a show about a woman who discovers kink and ends up a Dominatrix – not a spoiler, it’s the literal title.

Written by T.L. Wiswell, this play covers all the basics of BDSM with actors being tied up and a tutorial in caning. However, this show is not a sex show, to the dismay of some in the audience (a disappointed “awww” can be heard as the scene ends before a cane meets a buttock). This show is about human relationships in BDSM and how desire can quickly turn into seeing someone as a piece of meat.

Although well written overall, I am in two minds over having so much of the play being lectures on how to do things kink related. (The audience are the pupils at the sessions the main characters attend.) Some of the most enjoyable moments are in bed with characters (a piece of cloth held up by actors, a concept that was cute and worked) or when the actors make jokes at the fact that this is a stage and we are the audience. But on the other hand, what kind of BDSM show would it be if it didn’t talk about BDSM explicitly and not assume knowledge in the audience? The format of the classes enabled the actors to remind us of the importance of consent, and checking in with your partner, something they repeat multiple times.

The production has lovely transitions, with the odd moment of off timing, lots of the concept working well, such as characters clicking for the next lighting change or from holding up a bed into folding it up as part of the next scene. As an ensemble show, there is lots of unused actors standing on stage, which, as a deviser I have no problem with, however I think that some of the performers could relax more, looking tense makes me feel tense because I feel like they shouldn’t be there when- they should! An ensemble member’s ease keeps the audience at ease, and their focus aids our attention to the action on stage.

Speaking of actors, on the whole a lovely ensemble, Fleur De Wit and Coral Tarran are stand outs with Kyran Peet being so funny with his multi-rolling joke characters I almost cried with laughter. Something I find difficult to deal with in this production is the use of the American accent, if you’re not American and not flawless with it, it just sounds… awkward. It’s honestly my biggest bug bear with this production. You can have talented actors on stage some of which really handle the accent well (De Wit and Tarran come to mind) but it’s an unnecessary extra layer of thinking for the actors to do and even though Tarran is quite convincing with her accent, as soon as she switches to the character of Violet who is British, I can hear straight away that this is her true accent and for the first time all through the play, she sounds right. I don’t think the accents added anything to this production, and although it is set in America, I don’t think it needs the accents, if this is at the national and they’re paying for a dialect coach then sure, but if you’re doing a fringe show, it’s not really needed unless the whole cast is already proficient in the accent. Having one or two people with it makes the others look even less convincing and that’s a shame, this play is about BDSM, not who can do the best accent.

 

*rant over*

 

So, in all I would recommend this play, this is a show for vanilla people, subs and doms. It’s a well considered piece about something that is still taboo (yes I have heard of Fifty Shades of Grey) and I do hope this gets another run somewhere bigger, without the accents and with a little editing. It’s fun and creates a safe space to talk openly about kink, it’s message by the end is to be honest with yourself and although I found the length of the ending scene a little extravagant, I did find it touching and containing a great message: do what makes you happy, be honest with yourself, and always do after care!

Also: the freesheets were great, actually has useful info on BDSM.

On till Friday 3rd Aug: Get your tickets here!

Vulcanello Productions

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