Femme Fatale, The Omnibus Theatre - ★★★★ - Until October 27, 2019


Valerie Solanas is best remembered for her attempt to murder the artist, Andy Warhol, and her feminist manifesto SCUM (Society for Cutting Up Men). Nico, the other character in this play, is best remembered for her time with Velvet Underground, the experimental band of the era. These two women had a lot in common – from their complex and abusive childhoods to their association with Warhol and his patriarchal, exploitative 'factory.' The way they dealt with their issues was apparently quite different, but those differences may actually have been rather superficial: Nico sought refuge in fantasy, passivity and drugs while Valerie numbed her pain through self-aggrandisement, anger and a radical political stance. Polly Wiseman's script explores the similarity and differences of the two women with sensitivity and a lot of dark humour. However, the singling out and apparent embarrassment of audience members seemed an unnecessary ploy to make certain points. As an actress, Wiseman was quite mesmerising as Nico and perfectly complemented Sophie Olivia's high energy, over-the-top Valerie. Indeed, both actresses brought their characters to life and made us feel we knew these women and shared the sadness of their lives. This is a powerful look at two struggling and broken people, and it is a trenchant commentary on how in the supposedly cutting edge and liberating world of the arts oppression and exploitation can be the coin of the realm.

Reviewed by J.C.

 Our Score:  ☆☆☆☆ 

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WHEN, WHERE, GETTING THERE:
Until October 27, 2019
Tue - Sat: 7:30 pm, Sun: 4 pm
The Omnibus Theatre
Nearest tube: Clapham Common
https://www.omnibus-clapham.org/femme-fatale/

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