Wednesday, February 26, 2014


10:45pm Campanie
Garden of Unearthly Delights

Well here is a show that does exactly what it says on the box.

Four attractive and completely nude women sit on a chez lounge and read bits of books to us for an hour. The ladies in the undressed state are all obviously very comfortable being sans clothes in front of people (most are burlesque performers and so forth) and are clearly enjoying the juxtaposition of ideas at play here. On one level it's quite funny. There are nude ladies, they are reading books. Sections of the (mostly male) audience seem a little confused. As if the title of the show being so literal, has bamboozled them. A few late comers come in snickering and are soon glancing at each other seeming to say 'are they just going to read?'. People further back are having a little trouble seeing the nakedness and there is all manner of subtle (and unsubtle) head shifting in order to see the various nakedness on display.

The girls themselves Frankie Valentine, Vesper White, Strawberry Siren and Emma May, look like they are having a ball. Valentine and Vesper are the regulars and the rest of the couch is a changing line-up. The theme of the readings changes each show and we have wisely picked the theme of  'The Rude Bits'. The first literary masterpiece to be read tonight - Gene Simmons, Kiss & Make Up. It's a passage I remember well in which Mr Simmons tells the story of finding a new use for his famously long tongue. It's a pretty icky piece of rock star self myth building but when read out loud by a naked girl, surprisingly funny. Next is a piece by Anne Rice, well known saucy vampire writing person and an excerpt from Tipping The Velvet by Sarah Waters. The stories range from the Marquis De Sade to...well I'll get to that in a minute, but each is read in an amusing salacious tone, that has the other naked girls, laughing like schoolgirls finding rude words in the dictionary. I have two favourite reads tonight. One is a piece about legendary sex therapist/performance artist Annie Sprinkle. A one time Adelaide Fringe guest herself Ms Sprinkle had a unique finale to her show which is described (but not reconstructed) this evening with enthusiasm and good humour. Yes there are bad words, but if you are worried about bad language why would you be going to a show called Naked Women Reading in the first place.

My favourite tonight though, is Harry Potter. Yep a naked girl reading JK Rawlings story of the gifted wizard Harry Potter. It's from The Goblet of Fire and the chapter is The Weighing of the Wands.
"Hmm…" he said. He twirled the wand between his long fingers like a baton and it emitted a number of pink and gold sparks. Then he held it close to his eyes and examined it carefully. "Yes," he said quietly, "nine and a half inches… inflexible… rosewood… and containing… dear me…" … "Mr Ollivander ran his fingers along the wand, apparently checking for scratches or bumps… 

Yes it makes the pre-Triwizzard tournament preparation sound FILTHY. It's childish, puerile and pretty bloomin' funny. Especially as all the naked ladies on the couch are jiggling with laughter. The longer the piece goes on the funnier it becomes.

"Rather thicker than one usually sees… quite rigid… ten and a quarter inches… Avis!" The hornbeam wand let off a blast like a gun…"

This late night show in the Garden has a tag line of  'You can't have literature without T & A' and there is plenty of all three.  

Titillation? Titty alliteration? Clitariture? It's an interesting night. There are shows right through til the end of the Fringe, I'm going to try and get back for the one that has the theme 'Smut'. See you there!

Ian Bell.

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