The International Writers Magazine
Play Review: Final Year Creative Arts 2006

The Celibate Nymphomanic by Amy Dunmall
One Night Only at the Wiltshire Studio One - Portsmouth
Natalie Tehrani

A play written and performed by Amy Dunmall The Celibate Nymphomaniac: this interesting, controversial title immediately aroused my curiosity. A short, one-woman play with a graphic burst of pornographic energy from start to finish; I was definitely entertained!

Our sexually deprived heroine, Candice entered to the playing of Three times a lady (she certainly has the sexual appetite of one) and created a humorous first impression that was successful maintained throughout. The use of the visual was greatly effective in this piece. Not only was the audience treated to a highly graphic verbal description of her sexual promiscuity; we also got to witness her encounters through re-enactments involving a chair and fast, thrusting motions. These visual elements complimented the crude, language nicely as it lightened some of the more lurid descriptions and allowed us to laugh instead of blush. Although I’m pretty sure there will have been some of that going on too!

The story to this piece was also rather interesting; a girl devoted to sex with a boyfriend now devoted to Jesus. It couldn’t have gone more horribly wrong for this highly sexed woman. The monologue was populated with hilarious lines such as "sin is in" and "god forbid, and he does I’ve checked". There was also a section worthy of mention which sent the entire audience into hysterics: Candice tells us of the women at her boyfriend’s church who are campaigning against the use of tampons. Their slogan reads "don’t let the devil pull the string." The quote says it all really doesn’t it?!

The stage was set with a single chair and minimal lighting was used to spotlight Amy. My only qualm with this set was not its minimalism, this worked well as our attention was concentrated entirely on Candice. However I did feel that the chair was too far forward as my vision was partially obscured. Perhaps this was done to create intimacy with the audience but I feel a little more space would have been visually effective and not detrimental to the successfulness of the piece.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this bold, saucy work and was impressed with the complimentary concoction of the crude and hilarious. I feel that Amy deserves praise for her brave subject and ‘up front and personal’ style. I know I couldn’t stand in front of an audience discussing the angel wings on maxi-pads! So if you feel like seeing something different and overtly sexual this is the play for you!
© Natali Tehrani December 2006

Natali Tehrani is a Creative Writing student at the University of Portsmouth

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