Evelyn Mok is an Eastern girl with some simple, Western ambitions – "Cake over dick any day, that's my motto". Ethnicity, food and sex form the building blocks for a solid debut Fringe hour in Hymen Manoeuvre, as she recounts in excruciating detail the experiences that have come to define her.
Born in Sweden to Chinese parents—with a touch of Indian heritage thrown in for good measure—Mok is a modern paradigm of multiculturalism, although she hasn't necessarily felt the benefits herself. A confusing childhood left her with a muddled sense of identity, but now she's reaping the rewards in terms of authentic material if nothing else. Actively eschewing the "naïve damsel in distress" tag people have pegged her with because of her Asian background, she now represents a sort of female answer to the schlubby Judd Apatow archetype. A cake-obsessed, sexually repressed self-deprecator for the Sex in the City generation.
It's more interesting than it is funny, but her lethargic, rambling delivery does contain enough payoffs to merit the pedestrian pace. She specialises in withering sass, although she does take the time to explain the emotional and physical fallout of her first sexual encounter.
Generally it feels organic and homegrown, which anchors the show in a comfortingly honest vibe. Anecdotal humour works best when it's paired with humble sincerity, and that's mostly what she offers (an extended tale about adult virginity wouldn't really work were it not tethered to some kind of earnest reflection). Perhaps the running time stretches her material a little too thin, but she's bound to fulfil the hype surrounding her soon.