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Funny, moving, dramatic, and very hard to classify.

Theatre Review (London): Confessions of a Dancewhore at the Trafalgar Studios

In the introduction to the programme of Confessions of a Dancewhore, the creator and performer of the one-person show Michael Twaits describes a "semantic nightmare"—and he's certainly right.

But let's try: it's part cabaret, part stand-up comedy, part polemic, part tragedy, a lot comedy, part multi-media performance, a bit of a lecture—that's a lot in 85 minutes of intense performance, storytelling, and confession.

But those are a generally gripping, dramatic, and often moving 85 minutes—certainly not everyone's glass of vodka, and if you'd described it to me beforehand as an exploration of one person's gay identity and rage against society's attempt to put individuals into neat boxes of sexual identity, I might not have gone. 

"Why is who I choose to fuck such a decisive factor in who you think I am?" is an interesting question, but in the wrong hands could easily have lapsed into self-indulgent navel-gazing.

But I'm glad I did choose to see Confessions of a Dancewhore—it was a powerful, political, lively evening—and filled with laughs, which is always a plus. And it would have been worth it almost for the line alone: "I am a post-drag queen."

Finally, no review of this show would be complete without a warning: there is quite a bit of audience participation, and the usual expedient of requesting a non-front row seat won't save you.

But the good news is there's no Madonna song —not that I've any objection to Madonna per se, just that it is good to see another stereotype broken, although perhaps this is another way in which Twaits is trying to make it clear "this is not a gay play".

Confessions of a Dancewhore continues at the Trafalgar Studios until July 3. It is presented in conjunction with London Pride 2010.

About Natalie Bennett

Natalie blogs at Philobiblon, on books, history and all things feminist. In her public life she's the leader of the Green Party of England and Wales.

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