Edinburgh Fringe 2019
Sex therapy with a twist and interesting audience interaction.
“I created Madame at a time when I was feeling frustrated and powerless. I love her because she is confident, cheeky, and unapologetic. As Madame Komondor, I felt safe beneath a mask of glossy red lipstick and a fake French accent; I felt like I could say all of the things I wanted to say, and it was probably the first time I ever felt comfortable flirting with a man.”
Inspired by the #metoo movement, this amuse-bouche written and performed by Krista Komondor, allows her character off the leash to search for men in need of a cure for erectile dysfunction, or women who have difficulty achieving orgasm. Whoever you are, whatever you’ve got, Madame will see you now. It’s sex therapy with some very good punchlines.
Overall, it’s a lot of fun, with some set-pieces neatly punctuated by non-threatening audience participation. With a small house this becomes logistically difficult and this reviewer found himself pulled into the action so much he was in danger of reviewing himself. No matter – Madame is very much in control and has a good time with her victims – I really liked the way she would gently get consent before participation – and all of the interaction is skilfully managed. I was blindfolded and had some hands-on treatment from Madame to help free me from thoughts of domination – I left with a masturbation alarm (a rubber wristlet with two cat bells which I shall treasure always).
Madame Komondor is clad in tight leather trousers, bright crimson lipstick and a faux French accent that wouldn’t go amiss in “’Allo ‘Allo”. She owns a lavender farm in Avignon, which is also the place where she treats these personal difficulties and she demonstrates some of these therapies during her show. Disclosure of most of those activities here would be a spoiler – suffice to say that Onan would be first in the firing line. Mind you, it makes the lavender grow.
I feel that a couple of the sections need a bit of work (I’m allowing for the small house) and it will be very interesting to see how this piece develops. It’s rich territory and Madame could quickly find herself a festival regular. The really nice thing about this show is that the pace and structure allows Komondor to move swiftly from section to section without longeuse. Whether dancing with her audience or teaching them how to pay a compliment, there’s a gentle subtext that reminds us that we need to be kind to one another – and that sexism and intolerance are often just beneath the surface of our modern lives.