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Home arrow Archive: Earlier Fringes arrow Archive: Edinburgh 2011 arrow Brett Goldstein Grew Up in a Strip Club
Brett Goldstein Grew Up in a Strip Club
Published on Tuesday, 16 August 2011

4 stars

Pleasance Dome (venue website)
3-14, 16-29 Aug, 5:30pm-6:30pm
Reviewed by Craig Thomson

 Recommended for age 16+ only.

It's not every Fringe performer who can say they accidentally wound up running a strip club in Marbella at the age of 21.  But Brett Goldstein Grew Up In A Strip Club is no ordinary Fringe performance; it’s a unique and – he claims – completely true tale.

The basic setup is fairly straightforward, and is quickly rattled through.  Goldstein's father (formerly a book shop owner) experienced a midlife crisis of sorts ten years ago and, rather than buying a shiny red car, invested his savings in a strip club in a Spanish golf resort.  Experiencing a changed of heart shortly after arriving, he flees back to England leaving junior in charge.

It's all highly implausible but completely believable, and Brett Goldstein laces the tale with a convincing degree of specificity.  His depiction of the characters he encountered, and their mannerisms, are fascinating in their detail and absurdity – often too ludicrous to have been made up.  Goldstein's background is in theatre, including previous stints in Edinburgh with youth theatre groups, and this show is more along the lines of comic storytelling than the more familiar stand-up.

That merging of styles is of great benefit, as he works the space to recreate situations, rather than just pacing with a microphone in hand.  The physicality of his performance enhances the experience significantly.  It seemed that he was slightly uncomfortable, or unused, to coming through the fourth wall, however.  Observing that one old dear in the second row appeared to have nodded off late on, he looked nervous and off his stride, dwelling on the point and fiddling with fans where another comedian might crack a gag to wake her up and move on.

Nonetheless, the story is compelling and entertaining, and is lucidly recounted by an imaginative and impressive performer.  While the title amounts to a weak pun (although any Wapping sub-editor would be proud of its phrasing), the show itself is a rich and rewarding experience, which provides yet more evidence in support of that eternal aphorism 'the truth is stranger than fiction'.

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