I ventured into the forbidden zone last night and wow, what a pleasant experience it turned out to be!

Having heard much about Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues but never having seen it, I booked to see a production of the smash hit phenomenon by The Athenaeum Masqueraders in Warminster.

It turned out to be a double first for this particular virgin – I had never been to the Athenaeum before either but what a lovely little theatre it turned out to be.

Inspired by interviews with hundreds of women about their vaginas, The Vagina Monologues were written in the 1990s, nearly 20 years after American Shere Hite’s famous report on female sexuality.

The monologues take the audience on a whirlwind tour of the forbidden zone, being a collection of witty, sometimes outrageous, poignant and often moving tales about women and their relationship with their vaginas.

They are based on Ensler’s own interviews with hundreds of women of all ages from a wide range of backgrounds and cultures.

Following the first performance in 1996 in New York, the episodic play has since been performed in 140 countries in 50 languages.

Its audiences comprise mostly of women, with a sprinkling of men, and this was certainly the case at a packed Athenaeum on Friday evening.

Many well-known actors have performed in the play over the years, including such theatrical and celebrity luminaries as Maureen Lipman, model Jerry Hall, Whoopi Goldberg and our national treasure Kate Winslett.

The Masqueraders put out a very brave team of 12 local women, ably directed by Lyn Taylor, who were obviously delighted to be taking part and among the few amateur theatre groups which have been allowed to perform the play.

They turned up dressed in black and pink, with a dark set comprising chairs and sofas. Everything was kept very simple, even the lighting, and that somehow made the production more intimate.

The production was, like the curate’s egg, good in parts. It wasn’t entirely perfect, there were a few fluffed lines, but somehow the imperfections made it more human, honest and powerfully emotional.

I particularly enjoyed the performances of Audrey Pearce, Tina Duffin, Georgina Pepper, Esther Allberry, Wendy Dopheide, and Claire Warren, who provided the show’s real hoot with a monologue about a lawyer turned female dominatrix.

Georgina Palmer, a recent acting degree graduate, did a credible job with the play’s "my vagina is a village" monologue about a Bosnian woman's experience of sexual violence.

The other six cast members, Sarah Callaby, Georgina Palmer, Rebecca Bidwell, Lisa Shuckford, Elaine Orchard and Kaytee Symes, also turned in good performances.

The mistakes made by some hardly matter. The success of the play depends on its audience identifying with the individual subjects of the monologues and the way they are performed.

But the production is raising funds for good causes; in the Masqueraders’ case, the chosen charity was Salisbury Women’s Refuge.

The play is also on tonight, Saturday, February 22, at 7.30pm. Tickets from £12 are available at The Athenaeum on 01985 213891.