Are strippers really providing their patrons with a service? Or is it more the other way around? The Sonder Line’s The Touch Industry delves into the truth behind the stripper-patron relationship and exposes the raw emotion and vulnerability often hidden beneath a persona and a costume of cash-filled lingerie.
Four women take to the stage for a 45 minute peek into the hidden world of a young female stripper. The four girls, Grace, Mollie, Marsha and Laura demonstrate the taunting highs and horrific lows that can engulf a woman working in the touch industry. The Candy Club’s stage was usurped, dancers were exposed, and insights into the ups and downs of stripper lives were uncovered in the name of theatre.
I must admit, at first I was disappointed to see what was essentially a stage at a show within the “Anywhere Festival”. The initial bitter taste in my mouth slowly dissolved once I was introduced to the chilling verisimilitude that the longest running strip club in Brisbane brought to the show. Likewise, all of Co-Directors Katherine Shaw and Drew der Kinderen’s insightful research and hard work to open up so many cans of worms paid off, for want of a better expression.
It was Grace Keane-Jones who stole the show with a truthful vulnerability and manic energy. The electricity of her snaps between heart wrenching doubt and disillusioning confidence drove the show’s power and justified the merit behind the stories being told.
Mollie Yang is another honourable mention, with a comforting ease and genuine believability keeping our urge to look away or dart for the bathroom a little less rampant. Whether she was the product of a clever infomercial or if she was luring patrons with her tantalising gestures, Mollie soothed away the unpleasant aftertaste of the show’s confronting honesty.
Unfortunately the focus on expected concepts of profit and gain came at the expense of more sheltered ideas of vulnerability and guilt. With a lust for profit explored through a few too many repetitive “sniffs” and a cliche’d ocean of money to dive into, notions of gain and exchange dragged their way throughout the performance and lagged on the end of an otherwise sharp execution.
It was the concept of touch that resonated with me after the show had finished and I had left the Candy Club. Imprints, stains and physical manipulation were what kept me watching and wondering as each new rendition was revealed. The touch of others stained each stripper’s skin long after her persona was abandoned, the fake tan and makeup was washed off, and she had stepped back into the real world.
The Touch Industry’s insight into real experience and truthful perspectives was a fantastic beginning to the Brisbane Anywhere Festival season and a comforting transition between more traditional stages and what is to come next within the Anywhere Festival.
– Written by Rhumer Diball May 6th 2015
THE TOUCH INDUSTRY PRESENTED BY THE SONDER LINE and ANYWHERE FESTIVAL.
TUES 5 – THURS 21st MAY.
Photo credit Stuart Hirth
Originally Published for Anywhere Festival Here