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    


Ed O'Brien never planned to make a solo record. As a guitarist with Radiohead, who over almost three decades and nine albums have established themselves as one of the most innovative and influential musical forces of our time, he thought his artistic side had its outlet and was happy to spend any downtime from Radiohead with his family.

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. 

Local Brighton businesswoman, Lisa Lepki, is supporting an exciting initiative, The Page Turner Awards, to help new authors get their stories out into the world.
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.
Credit Katy Cummings

Scottish arena rockers Twin Atlantic are back with new album Power - and it's arrived with a dramatic shift in style and tone.

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. 

Guerrilla bike lanes appeared overnight on the streets of Brighton as part of an Extinction Rebellion campaign to highlight the urgent need for more cycling space in the city.
Credit Jake Wangner

Jack Garratt accompanies the forthcoming release of his new deeply personal album, Love, Death & Dancing, with an equally reflective long-form visual piece.

Beloved of a passionate fanbase and garlanded by award judges, Tim Vine is taking a sharp left turn from his career as a one-line gagsmith and punmeister extraordinaire. Ladies and gentlemen, for one tour only (maybe), we introduce to you . . . Plastic Elvis! The idea for this new tour is somehow simultaneously daft as a brush and not as crazy as it sounds.

A new virtual high street delivery service is up and running. Click It Local, who's ethos is to enable local shops to be able to compete with the likes of Amazon on convenience and choice launched this week in a mission to save the local high street and help support the Brighton community.
Credit Jamie MacMillian

One thousand five hundred Brighton Festival ticket buyers have donated back some or all of their purchases to the Festival after it was cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis.
Credit Tom Sheehan

Taken from their self-titled debut album, One Hand Tommy is The Imbeciles latest single and proves no matter how strange our world seems right now, it could always be stranger .. 

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