Review: The Lost Matriarch 2

A simple, effective idea that deserves a wider audience

comedy review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 12 Aug 2018
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The Lost Matriarch 2

Named after a matriarchal Chinese community, Helen Betty Knott’s MosuoMosuo collective make a bold fist of bringing that wider concept to a Fringe comedy stage. What would happen if our patriarchal culture was actually the opposite?

Rather than wade into the popular notion that the world would be a more evolved and equal place, they instead go for the more comedic angle and a straight swap, conjuring a sort of mirror planet where it’s now women indulging in misogyny. Or misterogyny. They even re-enact a certain world leader’s infamous caught-on-camera boast, almost word for word: now it’s a ludicrous but dangerous woman crowing about grabbing a guy by the gonads.

Knott’s trio introduce this mythical planet by actively flying us over, with the various scenes taking place as the in-flight entertainment, which just about works. There’s a nature documentary voiced by a decent Attenborough impressionist, in which casually territorial women invade a man’s space. A news report features bearded "meninists" campaigning for equal pay, and a couple of guys indulge in a dirty sexual fantasy about a hairy lady builder. But things also get much darker: it’s now a male sexual assault victim enduring the you-asked-for-it cross examination.

This is not always easy watching, then, and there’s a sparse audience this particular evening. Still, Knott’s crew power through these well-scripted scenes in impressive fashion. They don’t all work, but that simple but effective switch provides a series of stark, powerful, and hopefully lasting visual messages. They should perform this show in schools. It certainly deserves a bigger audience here.