I jest on the way in that while the women in the audience are sold programmes, the guys should be given maps - but in truth it's a bit like that. Eve Ensler's celebrated celebration of the fulcrum of womanhood assumes an ignorance on the part of men as part of its essence. It even supplies a fantasy figure - Plain Bob - as the unlikely antithesis.

What is more troubling is that so much of the humour in the show is at the expense of the ignorance of other women. Women who have lived long in thrall to prudery and self-hate, redeemed - of course - in their seventies. I had half expected to be made uncomfortable as one of a handful of males in the house, but not because the Vagina Monologues seems dated and reactionary. Why did it appear that the younger women in the audience were laughing less heartily than the older ones, and that this supposedly liberating show was much less challenging - and much more a repeated glorification of its author - than I'd had every right to hope.

What the hell, it is an overgrown cabaret that cleverly draws strength from the unfamiliarity of the cast with one another, so that the brilliant aural vocabulary of Michelle Gomez and then Miriam Margolyes is as much of a delight on stage as it is out front. It is a more mixed blessing, however, that it can so easily incorporate local references, although they included the priceless crediting of Una McLean's husband, Russell Hunter, for the inclusion of the word fud.

But when the highlight remains Gomez's bravado turn reclaiming the ''c'' word until the stalls are chanting along, to my mind the relative triviality of that (entertaining though it is) diminishes the inclusion of the testimonies of rape victims and victims of abuse.

The inherent paradox in the title is that this show is ultimately a communal experience. Fine, but very cosy theatre.