Brett Goldstein grew up in a strip club: Edinburgh fringe review
Andrew Mickel16 August 2011
Like all the best comedy, Brett Goldstein’s show isn’t just funny, it’s educational. Granted I can’t divulge most of what I learned due to legal reasons and the rest I’m going to keep until I seriously want to put someone off their dinner.
Call me naïve but I had never given all that much consideration to the kind of residue a strip club pole might accumulate.
Brett Goldstein Grew Up in a Strip Club sees the comedian relive an eventful year spent running a stripperia in Marbella on behalf of a midlife-crisis-stricken father. Fresh-faced, newly graduated and wide-eyed with naivety, Goldstein is promptly abandoned in Spain and plunged into a world of topless dancers and toilet cleaning.
From observations on strained family dynamics to the cast of grotesque cariacatures, the story provides a rich and varied source of comedy to supplement the inevitable (but very funny) bodily function jokes.
Plus it’s a good yarn, and one that Goldstein has no doubt recounted on many occasions – so it’s a credit to the lively, assured performance that it feels like the first time he’s ever told it. Armed with bags of physical energy and sparkly-eyed enthusiasm, Goldstein has the crowd rapt.
At times the line between stand up comedy and gonzo, confessional journalism all but disappears, thanks to Goldstein’s eye for detail. And the raw material is so compelling that even without the jokes the audience would be gripped.
There are laughs though, and plenty of them. Lurching from awkward giggles to high farce, there’s not a moment on this narrative rollercoaster that leaves you feeling nothing.
But what raises this above an entertaining tale well told is the underlying thoughtfulness. Goldstein may have spent a year among Armenian assassins, Irish gangsters, lesbian accountants and ladies with impressive upper body strength, but he doesn’t appeared to have let the experience numb him to the point of cynicism.
He uses the story as a platform for meditations of the human condition, steering an intelligent course between the potential pitfalls of painful political correctness and arsehole idiocy. He ends the show with a wry reflection on the similarities between strip clubs and the comedy circuit.
Given the show’s title, I had feared an hour of stag-night-friendly boob jokes and that tired ‘ironic’ misogyny that the comedy circuit seems to be cool with these days – but that is to vastly underestimate Goldstein’s wit and humanity. Funny, perceptive and a great storyteller – not to be missed.
Your rating: None
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