Makin' It Rain – 2016 Edinburgh Fringe

I have been extremely impressed with Nicole Henriksen before. This isn't the same sort of delightfully weird show she's done before, and is doing again in another show this year, but a more serious piece about her work as a stripper.

It includes her shedding her clothes, all of them, in a series of dance interludes. The first laughs of the show come when the queue of people waiting to get in are warned that the show includes 'full frontal nudity': clearly it's what some of the audience come for.

But what they get is more than that. The start talks about how she got into the work and her first steps in it – the sort of stuff that sex workers get asked, a lot. The combination of this and seeing her in very high 'stripper heels' meant it took me a few minutes to banish previous experience of her. They affect how she moves and before long, they're one item of clothing on the floor.

For me, the show started to soar when it moved onto people's reactions which include 'what if something happens' as a polite way of saying 'what about the risk of rape?' This leads to a wonderful section on the problems of an approach that effectively says 'let it be another woman, not you' rather than being 'no-one should be raped, regardless of work, clothes, behavior…' It's followed by an equally good criticism of the sex work hierarchy – escorts will disagree with their position relative to strippers, but it's very much there with brothel workers and street workers being at the bottom of both lists.

The other questions sex workers get asked are about the effects on relationships and mental health. Both get covered in the final section, including an aside that should surprise no-one and talking about anxiety in a very open and moving way.

'Beyond superb' was my two word summary immediately afterwards.


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