Bearing all for her art

By Myron My

Before you even walk through the door of the La Mama Theatre, you are greeted by a woman wearing high heels, a shawl and sparkling jewellery. And that’s it. For 29 years, Maude Davey has been taking off her clothes in public and My Life In The Nude is a celebration of Davey’s work throughout those years.

Davey regales us with stories such as her entry into the Miss Wicked Competition in 1991 to teaching burlesque for deaf and disabled women. Some stories are so outlandish that they are bordering on absurd that they are almost hard to believe, but all of Davey’s stories captivate and engage us.

Maude Davey

The costume changes are eye-catching and varied to say the least. At one point Davey wears a gorilla suit whilst dancing to ‘Beautiful’ by Christina Aguilera, a sparkly number that almost blinds us with its shimmer to a costume once owned by Jeanne Little (enough said on that one).

Davey has certainly led an intriguing life but she has put a lot of thought into this show and has taken a creative and humorous but sincere look at body issues, nudity and sexuality through a performer’s perspective and what it means to be naked on stage to them. Davey talks about her breast reduction at 17 and the threshold of judgement we have from each other and upon ourselves.

There is a strong message in Davey’s show and that is, as she clearly puts it at one point: “I am beautiful and I am worthy of your regard”. In today’s age with so many body issue images pressuring us, it’s a great reminder that we all have beauty and that it is there waiting for us to appreciate it.

Davey’s finale is powerful and the room was utterly enthralled by her. The image of her full of anxiety and fear and then her cover of Anthony and the Johnsons’ ‘Am I ever Going to see Your Face Again’ was a beautiful moment of live performance we seldom see on stage.

My Life In The Nude ran for almost half an hour over its advertised time but I would gladly have sat there another hour and be dazzled by Maude Davey’s tales. A great show not to be missed.

Venue: La Mama Theatre, 205 Faraday Street Carlton

Season: Until 21 July | Thurs-Sat 7:30pm, Wed, Sun 6:30pm

Tickets: $25 Full | $15 Conc

Bookings: or 9347 6142