Brett Goldstein Grew Up In A Strip Club

The glitz and the glamour of a year with pole-dancers*

By Lee Levitt, August 9, 2011

Brett Goldstein studied film and feminism at the University of Warwick, and then left his Sutton home for Marbella, along with his father, who was suffering from a mid-life crisis, for what turned out to be a late gap year with a difference.

His father, who until then had run bookshops, and a second-hand car-dealer friend, had gone to a strip club in London, and, having left their wives, decided to buy a strip club. And Brett, a "well-educated, naive middle-class idiot", as he uncompromisingly describes himself (and barmitzvahed at Wimbledon Synagogue, as he doesn't) ended up helping to run it.

Peeling away the glitz and the glamour of a year spent in a fantasy arena of private booths, and VIP areas in charge of a troupe of pole-dancers, Goldstein, 30, uncovers a sordid, frustrating, exploitative, mafia-ridden world into which he injects a hefty dose of grisly humour.

His high-energy, if slightly frenetic, debut solo show at the Fringe is packed full of colourful characters - from an olive-loving Armenian assassin to Goldstein's increasingly paranoid manager, not to mention the pole-dancers themselves, including his objet d'amour, Bum.

It's nicely detailed, with the hollow marble pillars and leering architectural design of the club with the longest bar in Marbella, advantageously positioned in a warren of brothels, well depicted. But it's hard not to feel that what Goldstein readily admits is as much a therapeutic as a theatrical exercise ends up with a slightly laboured, cartoonish feel. Brave and ambitious, nonetheless.

* Warning: this show contains absolutely no Jewish content (apart from Brett Goldstein).

Pleasance, Jack Dome, until Aug 29, not Aug 15

Last updated: 12:03pm, August 9 2011