Holly Morgan: Madonna or Whore?

Morgan bursts on stage dressed in a costume which is a parody of both an angel and madonna - a white bedsheet with foil halo and neon traffic cone boobs. This sets the scene for the hour which is to follow - an hour of controversial comedy and satirical speculation with a fun and frisky edge.

An hour of rich and original material

Hailed as ‘a show about misogyny’, Morgan uses the Freudian Madonna/Whore complex as a backdrop to traverse through time and discuss the various women blighted by its effects. Despite Morgan advising us she hasn’t done much research to produce the show, it is in fact tremendously rich with detail of the women who history has attempted to forget. We consider the victims of Jack the Ripper, feared and demonised by a society who chooses to obsess and hero worship their killer. A particular highlight is a witty ditty about Henry VIII’s wives, and Morgan plays with history as she subverses the Adam and Eve story.

The material Morgan presents is worthy; however the real star of the show is Morgan’s voice. As she peppers the performance with renditions of Madonna’s classic hits, we are astounded with the power of her pitch perfect voice. This is a classic example of a five star voice in a three star show. Every time Morgan sings, I am shaken from what has gone before and absolutely spellbound by this mighty force which captivates me - she deserves to be on stage, and somewhere substantially bigger than the Assembly Roxy!

Morgan’s fiance Tom co-delivers the material, serving up comedic interludes as he plays the part of Freud and other relative personas. The audience interaction is what brings the show down in this reviewer’s opinion. I appreciate what Morgan is trying to achieve through this. However if she’d left the metaphorical fourth wall in tact, we’d have had more time to listen to her amazing voice and learn more about what she has to tell us about HERstory. I wanted to hear more, and I was disappointed that the last part of the show descended into a chaos of tabards and candles being passed around the audience for us to become the choir.

Despite that, this was still an hour of rich and original material, cleverly put together to challenge the audience without leaving us mentally exhausted. Definitely one not to be missed.

Reviews by Jodie McVicar

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Assembly Roxy

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★★★★
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★★★★

Since you’re here…

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

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 women in boxes (metaphorically)? Why do we put women in boxes (literally)? Why does she have a fascist vagina? Sigmund Freud: analyse this. 'It may even have changed my life in some small way' ***** (LondonTheatre1.com).

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