My Stories, Your Emails, Warwick Arts Centre, on until tonight (Thursday). Box office: 024 7652 4524.
URSULA Martinez’s one woman show features a cast of strangers - actual men who emailed her after her famous comedy strip-tease show, Hanky Panky, was filmed illegally and uploaded to the internet.
As a result, she got a far bigger audience than intended, not all of it welcome or appreciative. Nevertheless, she realised she was on to something, and she wrote back asking for permission to use each author’s correspondence in a new show.
My Life, Your Emails comes in four parts. The first is a series of short stories and observations from her own life. The audience laughed, but there was an edge to the stories which cut.
Then we see the film which increased her fame. Her hilarious act is a parody of her own sexiness. Next come the emails she received, which she reads in various accents. We’re told she had permission from the authors to broadcast them with a photograph of their choice. Most were middle-aged men, presumably single. Some sought to appeal, others were more demanding.
Finally, Ms Martinez delivers the promise she gave at the start - to take her clothes off on stage. Here she wasn’t parodying herself or anyone. Yet this too was an image.
The ethics of the show have caused some controversy. Her correspondents may have given permission, but did they do so knowing they’d be ridiculed? Is Ms Martinez a contributor to the attention she drew upon herself, or is she simply a commentator? Who is using whom?
The show presents some important questions about sex and identity, and no easy answers.
Nick Le Mesurier