Brighton Magazine

The Brighton Magazine

Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Tuesday 03 September 2019

Femme Fatale: Andy Warhol’s Muse & Would-Be Assassin Collide In Dark Comedy About Fame, Failure & Feminism

Femme Fatale, the imagined meeting between activist Valerie Solanas and singer Nico, asks what might have happened if two female visionaries with very different methods had locked horns. 

With women's ownership of their stories, their image and their bodies still firmly on the news agenda, Femme Fatale draws parallels between 60s feminism and today, and throws into relief how much further there is to go.

Writer and performer Polly Wiseman says: 

"I'm bored to death by likeable female characters - which is why I wanted to write about Teutonic junkie Nico and "crazed feminazi" Valerie Solanas. 

"Both revolutionaries, in their different ways, their legacies have been all but ignored in favour of more compliant and prettily-packaged women. 

"But thirty years after they both died, their work continues to inspire many artists and activists. 

"As hilarious as they were uncompromising: their views on men, music, fame and feminism are outrageous and deadpan, tender and truculent.  


"More than a hundred years since women got the vote, recent events in America and at home remind us that our right to control our bodies and our stories is still not a given. 

"The time seems ripe for this reimagining of two female pop culture icons at the epicenter of 60s cool, battling for control of their own destinies."

1968. New York. Nico, singer with The Velvet Underground and Andy Warhol's Superstar, waits to shoot his latest movie when her Chelsea Hotel room is invaded by radical feminist Valerie Solanas. 

She wants the celebrity's help to spread her message of female revolution, but Nico only craves drugs to insulate her from her pain. 

A darkly comic battle begins, between two iron-willed opponents who could change their futures, if only they would become allies. 

New writing meets live music and super-8 film in a cabaret set up for an evening of intimate theatre, with an opportunity for audiences at three East Sussex venues - Kino-Teatr, St Leonards, Depot, Lewes, and The Latest Musicbar, Brighton - and online to help write a new feminist Manifesto for today.  


Valerie Solanas was a radical feminist, best known for writing the SCUM Manifesto (Society for Cutting Up Men), and attempting to murder Andy Warhol in 1968. 

In 2018, Lena Dunham played her onscreen in an episode of American Horror Story and her legacy is being re-evaluated by a new generation of feminists.  

Nico (Christa Päffgen) was a German singer-songwriter, model, and actress. 

She appeared in Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita and Andy Warhol's Chelsea Girls and sang with The Velvet Underground. 

As a solo artist, she earned cult fame as the Godmother of Goth, influencing Siousxie Sioux, Bjork and Bat for Lashes, amongst others. Both women died in 1988. 

Fireraisers is a female-led company presenting 'extraordinary theatre in unexpected places'. Based in Sussex, they perform new work nationally. 

Femme Fatale plays Kino-Teatr, Norman Rd, St Leonards, on 21st September 2019 - Depot, Pinwell Road, Lewes, on 29th September 2019 - The Latest Musicbar, Manchester Street, Brighton, on 2nd & 3rd October 2019. CLICK HERE for updates.

by: Mike Cobley




Share    


Creature Creature can, via the imminent release of their first collection of self-penned tracks, Two Finger Tantrum, be labelled the new flag bearers of rock. The Brighton-based five piece have furrowed a new burrow at the summit of an age old genre. With this debut album they will be looking over their shoulders at the also-rans for many years to come.


Migrate Art, the art organisation fundraising to support displaced and homeless people, has partnered with ten major contemporary artists and illustrators to create limited editions of re-usable, reversible face masks.

Romesh Ranganathan is Straight Outta Crawley, in West Sussex, and on his last nationwide tour, Irrational, he was pondering whether he has an irrational viewpoint on the world or whether that can be attributed to absolutely everyone else.

Returning after four years away, Aidan Knight's penchant for astute observations and personal reflections remains a compelling component of his songwriting.


Young people across the UK will have the chance to find out what it's like to be a record label boss, a film director or a theatre producer through a new podcast series from Lookout that brings together industry professionals from stage, screen and music to share their invaluable insights and experience on how to get into the creative industries.
Credit J. Taylor

Extinction Rebellion Brighton held a socially distanced protest on Hove seafront calling for a bigger public say in how society rebuilds following the coronavirus crisis.
Credit Andrew Gambling

The South Downs National Park photo competition is now open, with a first prize of £250 on offer to the amateur or professional photographer who best captures this year's theme of 'My tranquil haven'.

"In rock music, it's really easy to talk about partying and shagging girls and all that kind of stuff," says Skunk Anansie vocalist Skin. "But for us, what we were singing about had to be deeper, it had to mean something. We had to talk about our experiences and what we were going through."

Throughout COVID-19 isolation, everyone has become aware of the supportive and stimulating power of music. Although many people want to learn, they have no access to musical instruments or tuition - especially with schools and shops currently closed. 
Credit: Andy Sturmey

Barely a year since their debut album Dogrel, Dublin's Fontaines D.C. are set to return with A Hero's Death.

The Rec Rooms is an independent music and comedy venue in Horsham, West Sussex, which was opened by three locals just over eighteen months ago. 

This Saturday, 30th May, Together Co, the Brighton & Hove based charity that exists to end loneliness, is hosting a virtual music festival that will see more than twenty bands perform for free to raise money to help the most vulnerable and isolated.  

Following Brighton Festival's digital programme during lockdown, poet and author Lemn Sissay MBE has confirmed he will return as guest director in 2021. 

Archive search

Search our archives for what's on and gone for the best of this city's theatre music comedy news and much more...







Organising a conference or event in Brighton?
See our Brighton Conference section.
Brighton web design by ...ntd