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Conquest

Katie Caden
PearShaped
Vault Festival
to

Conquest is a funny engaging play about sexual consent, about the need to get men in particular to be more sensitive and respectful of a woman’s right to say no.

The story centres on the characters Jo (Colette Eaton) and Alice (Lucy Walker-Evans), two women who meet in Boots where Alice is quietly crying along one of the aisles. She needs a morning after pill and is still quite shaken by the circumstances that require that pill.

Their conversation reveals she needs a lot more than a pill, having been incredibly unassertive with a man who wanted sex without a condom.

Jo as the good feminist Samaritan helps out first with the Boots trip and then with Alice’s problems with being assertive by introducing her to “Conquest” a group of women waging a fight back with some very peculiar cupcakes.

Jo explains that men are encouraged to regard the conquest of women as a boast worth making because it serves a wider social purpose.

Not all the women we meet quite share Jo’s approach to the issue, and there are some sceptical amusing comments from a woman whose politics go back to the struggles of the 1960s.

There are humorous encounters with the man who “forgot” about contraception and an attempt to persuade members of Parliament that compulsory sex education in all schools wouldn’t mean the end of civilisation. (We could do with a bit more of it for Parliamentarians.)

Colette Eaton and Lucy Walker-Evans have good comic timing. Their confident performance includes morphing easily into becoming all the other characters.

The play entertains and explores sensitively the issues and leaves you hopeful about relationships.

It could easily be a situation comedy. It never digs very deep into the trauma or complexities of the issue. It doesn’t need to. Other plays can do that. This one does enough in gently encouraging sensitivity and assertiveness in our sexual encounters whether they are with women or men.

And since many men are doing a lot of catching up in this area, how come this audience of perhaps sixty only had four men in its number?

Maybe men should be less conservative in their theatre choices. This is a Conquest they should be boasting they have seen.

Keith Mckenna