Interview: Les Femmes Ridicule, In The Gut

Les Femmes Ridicule are Alice Robinson, Siobhan McKiernan and Margot Courtemanche, who together aim to create highly entertaining, moving and fresh work that directly engages with their audience. Following recent performances at the Brighton Festival, the trio are about to bring their show In The Gut to London for a short tour.

“In The Gut broaches the subjects of pregnancy, childbirth and parenthood; tackling tragic themes, such as miscarriage and infertility, with a thoughtful and comedic approach,” explains director Alice Robinson. “The audience will be introduced to different scenarios that offer alternative perspectives and approaches to the subjects – from the ridiculous and strange, to the dramatic and poignant.

“The show came about as an off shoot of another project that failed, which we’re really glad about! The three of us found we had so much to say on the topic of fertility and potential motherhood, and that we shared a slightly dark and silly sense of humour.”

In The Gut, Les Femmes Ridicules

In The Gut is Les Femmes Ridicules’ first show as a trio, and they’ve enjoyed working together. “It’s been really good! We’ve devised the show from our collective imaginations and passions, and that’s always a big process. As devisers our process is ongoing as we meet our audiences and continue to respond to them. We’ve laughed a lot in rehearsals and been really honest throughout, which is essential.”

The company hope to raise awareness for miscarriages in all relationships and are delighted to have the support of the Miscarriage Association and the Maternal Mental Health Alliance. “They really helped us in the research stage and opened our eyes to the impact of miscarriage on men, women and their families. We have been handing out Miscarriage Association leaflets at the shows and hope to promote the incredible services that they offer.

“In the Gut is direct in its staging of the fears around pregnancy. It doesn’t take sides, or preach, it’s unafraid of looking ugly, of moving its audiences and of playing with them.”

The RADA-trained trio’s creative process starts with simple improvisation. “I just shout things – ideas, thoughts, questions – at the other two and they plough on, adapting to what’s said in their own way. We all feed off each other’s ideas and we ended up with something we could never imagine on our own. Everything starts with a hunch, a question or something really silly like trying to outdo each other with a mime of the worst birth possible… and off we go!

“We think comedy is a brilliant way to open up a discussion, to heal and to set us free! There is humour in everything and releasing or acknowledging that is more interesting than ignoring it. Our audiences have taken the show really well, in that they have responded differently and personally. They have laughed and been moved. We’ve had midwives, parents, grandparents, people who don’t want children, young adults, people who do and people who can’t. There’s something for everyone, and everyone has an opinion on the subject matter, which is a great start.”

In The Gut is at the London Clown Festival on 12th June, the Blue Elephant Theatre from 14th-18th June, and the RADA Festival at John Gielgud Theatre on 25th and 29th June.

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