Edinburgh Fringe 2015
Miss Glory Pearl takes a frank and unhindered (even by clothing) look at body image and the comically archaic attitudes towards it.
Miss Glory Pearl is absolutely starkers. Let’s just get that out of the way right now. It’s funny, when attending a show called The Naked Stand-Up, the first thing one does is look to see who else is in the audience. The second, hide one’s lanyard. With little ceremony Miss Pearl enters the theatre, takes command of the stage and invites you to look, to take it all in and then, she gets down to serious business. She is here to entertain and to educate but this show is far more than a simple lesson in anatomy, of which Miss Pearl is blessed with the alabaster glow of a Grecian statue and the ample, resilient bosom of a trained burlesque artist. But don’t let the flesh fool you, this woman has a quick, sharp wit, a razor edged tongue and a kind and giving…heart, all of which she uses to full advantage in this hour of titillating, topless talk back.
I don’t know that I would qualify this show as stand-up, at least not in the Edinburgh sense; perhaps a more accurate interpretation would be stand-up and be counted, stand-up for what you believe in, stand-up for the underdog, stand-up to the nay-sayers and body image bullies. It’s certainly not going to make you laugh until you cry, but what follows Miss Glory’s understated introduction is a course in self-love, no, not that kind, actual self-love, self-awareness and universal kindness. A celebration of aging, inner beauty and cellulite not for the faint of heart. In a truly brilliant marketing maneuver, she gets the crowd in with a little flesh, then keeps ‘em there with some pretty serious meat. This show may not be heavy on laughs but don’t be fooled, it is substantial. Her brave yet welcoming demeanor creates a strangely safe space for freedom, her nakedness a metaphor for releasing all our own fears and doubts about ourselves.
It’s not a perfect show; there were sound issues and at many points I strained to hear, disappointed that I had missed what I can only assume from the reaction of the front row were some substantial zingers, but to tell the truth, it just made me work that much harder to listen and it is my fondest hope they have sorted them as I for one would love to know the little asides which were lost to the ether…and the air-conditioner. But let’s be real, if you were a woman doing a naked stand-up, wouldn’t you want it to be a bit chilly? I am reminded of that line from Showgirls, “Last chance to ice,” but unlike the seedy, hardened, fading starlets of that ill-fated film, it is clear that Miss Pearl has a zest for life and I would worship in the glory of this goddess any day.