Mad Women In My Attic is an energetic, cabaret-style show by Monica Salvi, accompanied by a pianist (dressed in a doctor’s coat). The reason for the doctor’s coat soon becomes clear as Salvi sings musical hit after musical hit casting her in various ways as ‘psychologically disturbed’. We see her as an over-the-top seductress, a killer driven mad by love, suicidal and grief-stricken (to name but a few of the identities she takes on) and learn that all of these tropes are the only type of role that seems available to her. Woven around the songs is the loose narrative that the audience are her fellow psychiatric patients or perhaps even just a figment of her imagination. While the over-arching storyline, and re-performance of the songs in ‘classic’ costume, occasionally re-inscribes the very subject matter it is trying to critique, the piece usefully examines how women are continually re-cast in the same roles within musicals. (SG)

MAD WOMEN IN MY ATTIC!, Monica Salvi, Just Festival at St. John’s, 24-26, 28-29, 31 August. Wheelchair Access, Level Access, Hearing Loop and Wheelchair Accessible Toilets available.

More on the show:

More on Monica Salvi:

Such stereotypes have been very deftly explored by Dickie Beau in Blackouts - a work which examines the very public addictions of Judy Garland and Marilyn Monroe.

See also the work of Bobby Baker, woman and artist investigating mental health:

‘C’est Vauxhall’, from Duckie - alternative cabaret show, playing withmusical theatre tropes:

Two Sheila Ghelani pieces (‘Etyma - A Tiding of Good Words’ and ‘And Fell Unto a Circle Square’) both made co-creatively with service-users in a psychiatric ward:

Vacuum Cleaner, artist working with experience of mental health difficulties: