Selena Mersey: Madonna/Whore (Work in Progress)

If Victoria Wood was alive today, she would have been charmed by Selina Mersey: Madonna/Whore, a work in progress show that explored, via the form of comedy and burlesque, the idea Sigmund Freud had about women with his Madonna/Whore complex. That they were either innocent and good wives, which then led to men no longer being interested in them - or they were temptresses who lured men down a dark path of sin, leading them away from their wives. Mersey blew that concept out of the water and suggested we were both. Why should we be labelled as anything that takes us away from who we are?

Mersey's comedy was a vibrant mix of sensual surrealism and quirkiness

Mersey's comedy was a vibrant mix of sensual surrealism and the quirkiness of Victoria Wood and brought to us a show that allowed us to just be ourselves and enjoy exploring sexuality with her in a way that was engaging, fun and honest. Even when things did go wrong, Mersey incorporated mistakes into the show and was not afraid to make fun of herself during. A part of me wondered whether some of the more obvious mistakes however could have been made more of, as in a weird and wonderful sort of way, they seemed to fit with the show and Mersey's personality. An example of which was when she changed a part of the show around and deliciously messed up a costume change behind a screen in the middle of the stage. Although this wasn't deliberate, the way she had improvised to fill time and pressed her lighting and sound technicians on many occasions to press a button was well-timed and it became a natural part of the proceedings. It may be a good idea to make a mistake like this as a permanent part of the sketch, as it was interesting to listen to and watch when she did come out from behind the screen eventually. If Mersey made more of this, the show would have the icing on the cake with a fresh new take on the classic 'comedy cock-up sketch'. Plus, it would enable a stronger connection with the audience when it came to the fun audience interactions, having already handled friendly heckles and getting some of them to hold props.

The truth is, Selina Mersey: Madonna/Whore is a refreshing comedy that has many great surprises, sexy moments and a playfulness that was reminiscent of Elvira: Mistress of the dark. This is a very cheeky hidden gem that is special and certainly something to watch out for in the future, and with a little more work and confidence is set to be even better. Keep an eye out for Mersey too as a performer - she will dazzle and charm you, yet throw you in at the deep end with her unexpected comedic curveballs.

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Performances

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The Blurb

Madonna or whore. Virgin or slut. Sacred or defiled. Doted upon or lusted after. Shambolic chanteuse Selena Mersey embarks upon a filthy Freudian feminist odyssey into the desire to be all and none of the above. For the innocent and the obscene; for girlfriends who became wives who became mothers; for mascs, femmes, and thems; for anyone who’s ever witnessed women existing: how many Freudians does it take to screw in a lightbulb? (Hint: you have to buy a ticket to find out.) Featuring songs, stand-up, burlesque, and a bunch of other stuff. Sex dolls go free. Madonna/Whore is the highly anticipated solo debut of 2021 Musical Comedy Awards finalist Selena Mersey. Brighton-based Selena's delightfully dark ditties around gender, sexuality, and the horrifying ordeal of Being Known will get you going ‘haha! Wonderful! Oh actually that’s a bit fucking grim.’ “[Her] whimsical tunes set the audience alight with laughter” (Funny Women) “Funny, filthy and honest” (Next Level Sketch)

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