Nicole Henriksen is a comedian and stripper, whose new show, Nicole Henriksen is Makin it Rain, sees her take a bit of a departure from the comedy she is better known for, and indeed stripping per se, to present a highly engaging and very personal insight into her experiences as a sex worker. Her story is neither salacious nor sensational, but attempts to answer honestly, a number of common questions about her work as a stripper and the affect (if any) stripping has had on her. In doing so, she carefully avoids trying to become the representative of all strippers, or all sex workers, but at the same time she makes her particular feminist position very clear.
Henriksen has an easy rapport with the audience, aided by her natural comedic talent, and this draws the audience gently into her narrative. Her story is punctuated by short strip routines, which she sometimes sends up, almost to defuse them, and these also act as a foil to the more serious aspects of her account. By the time we get to the end of the show, she is talking to us completely naked. Her mask completely off, this is the most poignant part of the show, but it also feels very comfortable and very natural.
It becomes clear that having insight into human nature and being good with people, are two things that being a good stripper and a good comedian have in common. Henriksen has both these skills. Although her show is semi-improvised around a number of themes, it is cleverly structured, well-considered and well-balanced.
By making the audience feel relaxed, Henriksen is able to talk about what are in fact big and often complex issues in a non-confrontational way. In doing so, she coveys her many important points in a far more effective manner than if this were a rant.
It is important than sex workers of all walks of life are heard as individuals, and that their stories, both positive and negative, are properly heard and not mis-represented. Henriksen’s own story is both thought-provoking and entertaining, and is a great debut into the world of theatre.