It’s a bit of a cliché to go to a fringe festival and see a show where a woman talks about her first period. We’ve all seen that episode of FRIENDS where Chandler sits through the cringiest, most painful version of this show imaginable, but Lucy Peach, self-styled Period Preacher, tackles the subject with grace, style and a whole lot of love in her show My Greatest Period Ever.
When I meet Peach and her husband Richard before the show, they give me a quick run-down of what to expect. “It’s a journey through the emotional landscape of the menstrual cycle with science, humour and lovely live drawings” she tells me. The show “uses songs, stories and science to bring to life the power of the menstrual cycle” he says. I’m completely disarmed by their openness and warmth and I’m immediately on board with the concept. “It’s also got cat-suits, capes and fudge” Peach adds. At this point, I’m ready to sign on the dotted line, and, let me assure you, this show absolutely delivers on all three fronts.
Peach opens with an anecdote about getting her first period aged 12 whilst on a plane, then wows us with a dramatic stunt, before launching into a day-by-day exploration of the menstrual cycle, explaining how we can embrace each stage to make the most of the emotional fluctuations we experience during this time. She does all this in the best looking, most glamourous cat-suit that I’ve ever seen, and I’ve watched a lot of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Peach’s show is an entertaining blend of heartfelt commentary, anecdotes and original music, which at times reminds me of Florence + The Machine/Lana Del Ray/Sia but also maintains a distinctly unique sound that is Peach herself. When accompanied with the stunning and personalised live illustrations provided by her husband, the show becomes elevated to something visually stimulating and the drawings help to illustrate the points Peach is trying to communicate to her audience in a way that is tailor-made for them.
The ultimate message of the show is one of power and love. We leave feeling uplifted and prepared to embrace our periods, and probably the person sitting next to you. This show isn’t just for women either, Peach is keen to stress. “It’s about community” she assures me. Men are not only welcome but embraced during the hour and ten minutes we spend with Peach. “We can’t do it without you” she tells her audience. “We bloody love you”, pun most definitely intended.
Peach’s show has come over from Australia after winning the Martin Sims Award from the Fringe Fund, and the pair are delighted to be here, but the hot topic of discussion is advertising. “Social media have banned all our ads for being sexually suggestive” Peach tells me. “Periods are just so sexy” she quips. It’s a startling reminder of how desperately we need shows like this in our culture. Go see this show whatever phase of your menstrual cycle you’re in. Whether you have a menstrual cycle or not, you’ll at the very least come away having learned something more useful than we were ever taught in science class.
My Greatest Period Ever played at Junkyard Dogs: The Doghouse as part of Brighton Fringe until 18 May. For more information and tickets, visit the Brighton Fringe website.