Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: The Sacred Obscene, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Ben Walters.
Strippers are often still viewed in our culture as “the lowest of the low”, as one character here puts it. The Sacred Obscene aims to redress that misogynistic stereotype and succeeds in presenting a multifaceted survey of the reality of life in the industry – although by seeking to cover so many aspects of that reality in just 50 minutes, it struggles to develop the deep dramatic engagement the subject warrants.
The play centres on three women who work in a strip club – aspiring professional dancer Nikki (Ruth Tinker), cash-strapped student Cici (Caitlin Staebell) and career stripper Holly (Kate Novak) – along with their boss Joss (Joelle Montoya). Peter Collington plays Holly’s boyfriend and all the other male roles.
All the performances are strong, although a workplace romance lacks chemistry, and there’s a good rhythm to the flow between scenes. We learn about professional norms, dealing with punters, workplace camaraderie and the job’s potential toll on one’s psychology, physical security and family and romantic relationships. But aside from Holly’s love life, the human consequences of these factors are explored only glancingly, with sketchy and underpowered results.
Overall, the production feels like a highly promising dry run for a show twice the length.
Space Triplex (Venue 38) until 22 August / listings
Published in The Scotsman on 20 August 2015
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