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Touched ... Like a Virgin

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Strong female performers often provide the role models for young women struggling to find their way. These days it's Lady Gaga; in the 1980s it was Madonna, the icon for the 'have it all' generation of women brought up by feminist mothers who wanted their daughters to be free – to have a career, sexual relationships and, most of all, to be happy.

For Lesley, that's an ideal she always seems to fall short of. As she grows up, Madonna becomes the blueprint for her own life, mirroring the singer's personal reinventions, as Lesley goes from council house child wanting no more than a semi-detached, a husband and a bunch of kids, via Oxford University, New York's Met Bar and to a fertility clinic in Sweden. As it turns out, where Lesley ends up is not really that far from where she always wanted to be.

Sadie Frost's Lesley is smart, likeable and funny, with a keen sense of what she's doing and where she's going wrong. Frost demonstrates fine comic timing as she convincingly takes the audience through Lesley's story from teenaged virgin to grown-up mother-to-be. The story is underscored by songs from Madonna's back catalogue as sung by David Wickenden (4 Poofs and a Piano), ably accompanied on piano and guitar by Ben Osborn. Wickenden doesn't have a particularly good or strong voice, but he gets away with it through a mix of charm and camp while dressed as an alternative undertaker in dark suit with silver sequined shoes.

James Phillips's direction keeps the pace up as the action moves around the small cabaret-style space. Among the humour, there's a message about the pressures and conflicts of feminism, but it's woven in with skill so as not to frighten off the blokes in the audience.

Half-play, half-cabaret comedy, Zoe Lewis's Touched Like A Virgin is a delicious encounter for a summer evening.

- Carole Gordon

Come on our hosted Whatsonstage.com Outing on 6 June 2012 and get a top-price ticket, a FREE programme and access to our EXCLUSIVE post-show Q&A with Sadie Frost and Zoe Lewis - all for the INCREDIBLE price of just £15.00!! Click here for info.

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