Set in the backroom of a grotty pub in the centre of Bolton, Emily Layton’s contemporary piece about two strippers is simple yet compelling.
Darren and Nina are two strippers with two very different minds, that meet in the dressing room before they are about to go on stage. We are first introduced to Darren, played by Joe Layton, who exudes arrogance as he checks himself out in the mirror and swaggers around the stage. In contrast, Kate Franz plays Nina, a confident young girl with desperation beneath the surface, who is doing the job to pay for her university tuition.
Layton plays Darren excellently, he paints the image of a stereotypical lad, and explains his desire to become a stripper was because of his love for the cheap thrill of it all. His comedy timing is flawless as he gets ripped apart by self-assured Nina, who struts in and exposes her cold exterior. Darren becomes awkward and giddy around her, and despite his attempts to maintain his facade, his insecurities speak louder.
As a simple 50 minute piece in which there isn’t a lot of drama, the highly engaging dialogue keeps the audience’s sheer focus. The characters are absorbing as they explore the idea of sexual politics and the double standards against women in the industry.
“I am a stripper, not a prostitute, a hooker or a whore,” Nina tells Darren. Franz provides an absolutely stellar performance as the straightforward young American girl. Her attitude is admirable and this never wavers, she performs an assertive monologue in which she expresses her feelings about the male attitude to women, and it is seriously powerful.
Partial Nudity is exceptionally acted by two young actors that find depth in simplicity. Emily Layton has written and directed a piece that explores the importance of the image of both a stripper and a woman in modern society, that is approached with light humour and tactfully touching language.
**** 4 stars
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Tickets can be found here.