Ask A Stripper is a completely unique experience, and at a festival like the Fringe, that is no mean feat. Answering all and any questions the audience has ever had about stripping as a career, Morag (Gypsy Charms) and Stacey Clare (The Ethical Stripper) are quick-witted and brutally honest, resulting in a show that is intelligent, shocking and funny.
Being led to the upper deck of the Bob’s Blundabus venue by Stacey Clare and Morag is reminiscent of the shy, excited, intrigued feeling of joining the older kids at the back of the bus. The nostalgic flashback to journeys home after school is interrupted, however, as they crack open a bottle of Lambrini and pass it around – there aren’t any cups but not to worry, there are baby wipes to swipe over the bottle top.
Bantering with the audience turns into quick removal of clothes, culminating in both Morag and Stacey perched in wooden stools completely naked (barring sets of pink leg warmers and impossibly high heels). They briefly introduce themselves and then turn to the audience for questions. Some of these could be expected: what was your first experience taking your clothes off for money, what’s the weirdest injury you’ve ever sustained, does stripping increase your personal confidence? The overruling theme, however, is quite unanticipated. This show, in truth, centres in politics and feminism.
Professional stripping is changing but not in a way that should be considered so radical. Dancers want workers’ rights, proper safety nets and protection of diversity. Like many industries in today’s political climate, strippers are fighting to protect their livelihood from the threat of changes imposed by the government. New licensing acts are on their way in that would push strip clubs further underground, resulting in even less protection for the workers and less unionisation. They explain all of this coherently and intelligently, sandwiching the more serious stuff between tongue-in-cheek banter and easy laughs.
Boarding the Blundabus with no clue about how strip clubs really operate or how few workers’ rights are available to those who work in them, this show is an eye-opener. To think that this show is an opportunity to stare at some naked women and ask if they’ve slept with a client is to severely underestimate the potential of the performance. It isn’t for the faint-hearted, but it is empowering, funny and full of life. You couldn’t get this insight anywhere other than the Fringe and whether you’re a seasoned feminist or not, it will completely alter your outlook.
For more information about the campaigns for strippers’ rights, as well as changing legislation that will severely impact how strippers can operate in Scotland, go to https://www.askthe700.org
Ask A Stripper is on at Heroes @ Bob’s BlundaBus – Top Deck
At 19:50 until 25th August (excluding 21st)
Buy tickets here
Image: Gypsy Charms and Stacey Clare / Heroes / PWYW