Ask a Stripper does exactly what it says on the tin. Two professional strippers, Gypsy Charms and Stacey Clare, offer their time to answer questions from the audience. ANY question.
They introduce themselves by first taking all their clothes off, ensuring that everyone has had a good 360-degree view of their bodies – which isn’t particularly hard to achieve, since it’s sold-out and we’re all stuffed on the top deck of a bus. The directions that the conversation can take in sixty minutes are quite unpredictable, as the two women show wit and willingness to share their personal experiences. They’re clearly well prepared to address any topic. With a vast knowledge of the industry’s perks and downsides, they point out how it has changed over the decades.
Tonight, we start with a question about shaven versus unshaven pubes, before moving on to discuss the necessity of unions to protect the rights of sex workers. This is actually finally happening, with United Voices of the World and GMB starting a movement that aims at better regulations and financial security for thousands of people who work legally but have no guarantees in terms of holiday pay, sick leave or pension.
The distinction between stripping and other performing arts that involve nakedness is described as a mere difference between venues and the licencing that regulates them. Strip clubs apply a long list of behavioural restrictions on the performers, often enforced with hefty fines, which include a ban on touching their genitals or getting too close to a customer. Yet only an hour earlier, in one of the Fringe main theatre hubs, I’d attended a show involving nudity where an actor very graphically simulated masturbation. I can also think of more than one burlesque show where genitalia have some creative uses.
The girls are compelling talkers and soon you stop paying attention to their lack of clothes to instead focus on the many insights on professions that are stigmatised but remain ever so popular. The same society that generates demand is quick to publicly sweep their existence under the carpet. This is a witty, intelligent show and by far one of the most politically engaged to be found at this year’s Fringe festival.
Devised, Produced and Performed by: Gypsy Charms and Stacey Clare
Box Office: +44 (0)131 226 0000
Booking Link: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/ask-a-stripper
Booking Until: 25 August 2019