YOGA & SEX… for women (over 40) – Bread & Roses Theatre | Review

Kathryn Haywood has just reprised her one-woman show, YOGA & SEX… for women (over 40), at the Bread & Roses Theatre in Clapham, ahead of taking the show to this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe. She is also running the piece in July at the Canal Café Theatre in London if you missed out on Clapham’s shows. I went along on the second night to see the piece, again (yes, it’s that good) and I couldn’t be more positive about this show.

Kathryn Haywood in YOGA & SEX… for women (over 40)
Kathryn Haywood in YOGA & SEX… for women (over 40)

The premise is simple. The audience are framed as attendees of Kath’s Yoga Class – a speciality class aimed at women over 40 (although you don’t need to be over 40) about yoga and sex. The piece is a master class on character-based comedy, Haywood has written a female yoga instructor, Kath, who is Australian (with a faultless accent I must add) who is real and direct with her students (that’s us, the audience).

The piece sits somewhere between Muriel’s Wedding and Kath and Kim in terms of humour. It’s well-paced, well staged and has just the right amount of audience participation. It’s not often I talk about the sound effects, but whoever is doing these for the show is spot on, and it really adds to the piece. At one point, the audience even find themselves checking their phones to see if it’s them or onstage with the phone notifications.

The show starts with Kath, in a headstand. She is mid-story to her previous class and transforms from the headstand, resting in a pose with her brightly coloured, Lycra-covered bottom centre stage. She pauses for just the right amount of time – it sets the piece’s humour perfectly – the audience is laughing already.

What goes on for the next sixty minutes is a deep dive into the 1960s literary sensations Nancy Phelan and Michael Volin. Our yogi, protagonist, facilitator, and teacher had stumbled on three of their books about yoga: Sex and Yoga, Yoga for Women, and Yoga Over Forty.  I won’t give any spoilers away: you’ll need to see the show to learn if the information is, or ever was, relevant.  Kath is a loveable, chatty, somewhat ditsy character, whose love for fine wine, lemon sherbets, and yoga are hugely apparent. Kath is living her best life and wants us to do the same. Go to her “class” – you may learn something!

5 Star Rating

Review by Faye Stockley

Being a woman! Being over 40! Sex! Kath has found the solution to all three of these problems. YOGA!

Based on three real Australian self-help books from the 1960s, Yoga for WomenSex and Yoga and Yoga Over Forty by Nancy Phelan and Michael Volin. Are they out-of-date? Of course not! Kath (Kathryn Haywood) has found loads of helpful advice and practical exercises that are still relevant today to help you “stay slim for your husband,” “destroy your wrinkles” and “save your unhappy marriage.”

You don’t have to be a woman, you don’t need to be over forty and you don’t even have to be sexual. Join Kath as she delves into the Kama Sutra, finds out what ‘the four different types of women’ smell of and almost does some yoga.

Directed by Dan Mersh (Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, The Death Of Stalin, 15 Storeys High, Sex Education, Veep & The Thick Of It)

YOGA & SEX… for women (over 40)
Bread & Roses Theatre, Clapham
7:00pm, 9 to 11 May 2024

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