Watching pole dancing, to me, is a bit like watching people skate at an ice rink. The initial interest wears off after a few minutes, looking at someone go around and around and around and – well, you get the idea. Just as well, then, that Siân Docksey’s show doesn’t just feature pole dancing, and isn’t even entirely about pole dancing. It was interesting nonetheless to hear Docksey’s experiences in the business, and how she ended up a professional pole dancer (short version: it’s an economically viable vocation) – I didn’t know, for instance, that more women than most people think attend pole dancing venues.
Despite being in what she describes as ‘the LGBTQM community’, the ‘M’ standing for ‘miscellaneous’, she has her reasons for not marching at the front of a Pride parade, being aware of what she believes to be her limitations. The comedy is far more observational than political, with touches of complete fantasy, in which Docksey’s active imagination runs quite wild, even by Fringe standards. The ground covered in an hour is extraordinary, with Docksey waxing lyrical about almost everything from rock climbing to immortality. Oh, and there was something about wool.
There are the challenges of self-employment, and what she’s able to class as a business expense. Her working hours can also be problematic, a common issue for those who work in the entertainment and hospitality sectors. Being able to meet with friends with jobs in other industries isn’t easy. The audience was, nonetheless, in stitches in a scene reconstructing the fulfilment of a request to pole dance to voicemail messages left in memoriam of ‘Tony’.
The physical dexterity is, as one might expect, impressive. Docksey spoke at length from an upside-down position, with legs up in the air forming a ‘Y’ in order to ask some existential and philosophical questions (as in ‘why’ – geddit?). The pole itself requires regular cleaning, for which there is suitable piped-in music, and whether there’s a deeper message about regularly cleaning in life, literally and/or metaphorically, is something Docksey is happy to leave the audience to decide for themselves. With a welcoming warmth and excellent rapport with the crowd, this is a confident and friendly performance. Fun with a capital F.
Review by Chris Omaweng
Pole dancing comedian Siân Docksey cheerfully ignores climate disaster, another recession and the steady creep of fascism to see if hanging off a stick can make you stop thinking about death. A genre-smashing philosophical dance-comedy party. Or just an upside-down woman having an existential crisis, probably.
For (partly) tax reasons, Siân combines two of her greatest passions to create a hilarious absurdist feminist extravaganza in her debut hour at the Edinburgh Fringe. Pole Yourself Together uses surrealism to make effervescently weird comedy from political and personal dread, to answer the all-important question: Can pole dancing be funny?
VENUE: 10Dome, Pleasance Dome, 1 Bristo Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9AL
DATES: Wednesday 2nd – Monday 28th August 2023 (no show 9th, 14th, 15th, 21st or 22nd August)
TIME: 7:10pm (60mins)
AGE GUIDANCE: 16+ recommended