Bare-all story-telling for MICF
By Myron My
What drew me to the preview performance of Confessions of a Sensitive Male Stripper for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival was the lack of stories you hear from male strippers in popular culture. It’s usually female strippers talking about their job, their lives and clientele, from Diary of a Callgirl to talk-show exposés. So I thought it would be refreshing to hear this masculine side of the story.
Our anonymous stripper walks out on stage in a cowboy outfit, including a large cowboy hat and a scarf tied over his face so that only his eyes are visible. The story takes places at a doctor’s clinic where our stripper has gone for a check-up and begins to relay to the female doctor how he became a stripper.
The use of every sexual pun conceivable certainly borders on crass, but Anonymous manages to tread a fine line given the subject title and some of them are quite funny.
My main gripe is that none of his stories actually offer any insight into the mind of a male stripper. The stories are exactly what I’ve mentioned having heard before – except the words ‘male’ and ‘female’ have been swapped. Talking about his objectification by women and the sexually explicit comments shouted at him demanding he “take it off” became quite mundane and repetitive.
The wanting to remain anonymous gimmick doesn’t work well here either. When you can’t see who is talking to you and the performer remains seated for the majority of the show, it makes it hard for the audience to remain engaged.
This performance is ultimately a unique idea without a strong follow-through, for we are taken on this journey where Anonymous wants us to sympathise with him due to his embarrassing and cringe-worthy experiences yet his actions at the end feel contrived and are the exact opposite of what he has been trying to get away from.
I did leave the show wondering if this was in fact a real male stripper or just a comedian putting on a show, which is a worthwhile achievement by this performer. Either way though, Confessions of a Sensitive Male Stripper was unfortunately only as impressive as that prosthetic penis in the lacy G-string…
Venue: Elephant & Wheelbarrow, Cnr Bourke & Exhibition Sts, Melbourne
Tickets: $15 Full
Bookings: www.tixnofee.com or at the door