Holly Morgan: Madonna or Whore? (4 stars)

Holly Morgan: Madonna Or Whore?

A comic jaunt through history with dark personal recollections

This is a musical retelling of history based on Freud's Madonna-whore complex, which has been interpreted in contemporary culture to describe men only being able to view women as either virtuous, virginal saints or debased, sexual beings. The Madonna of the title works overtime, referring to both that most famous of virgins, Mary, and the highly successful pop star who sang 'Like a Virgin'; the latter is remembered here for her cone-shaped bra while her songs are featured heavily.

Holly Morgan and sidekick Tom Moores work through a checklist of wronged women throughout history and mythology, starting with Lilith and taking in the female leads of romcoms before reaching more contemporary feminist issues. The breakneck onslaught of character, song and dodgy props is put on pause when Morgan addresses the difficulties she's faced in the entertainment industry, and the inclusion of this personal confessional turns a darkly comic jaunt through history into a show with real resonance.

Ably acted, beautifully sung, funny and poignant in equal measure, there are so many little touches that make this ambitious, whirlwind herstory a success, even if failing to address either Freud's fundamental sexism or the ambiguity over the term 'virgin' in the Bible slightly mars an otherwise pitch-perfect hour.

Assembly Roxy, until 26 Aug (not 14), 7.35pm, £10–£12.

Holly Morgan: Madonna or Whore?

  • 4 stars

Fight in the Dog Ltd Holly Morgan is going to sort this whole misogyny mess out once and for all using something she half-remembered from university about the Madonna-Whore complex and the greatest pop songs of all time. Join her as she channels controversial women from history and asks the big questions: why do we put…

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