How to be a Stripper

Stilettos Revue Bar, Dunedin

15/03/2018 - 17/03/2018

IVY BAR, 49 Cuba St, Te Aro, Wellington

06/03/2019 - 09/03/2019

NZ Fringe Festival 2019

Dunedin Fringe 2018

Production Details

The Dunedin Fringe’s naughtiest show about a good catholic school girl’s journey from kilts and tights to fishnets and nipple tassels.

Featuring the hilarious Maddie May, this show’s a bit cheeky in more ways than one…Co-created by Katherine Kennedy (performance) and Jordan Dickson (direction), this autobiographical comedy-strip show makes its world premiere at Dunedin Fringe!

Stiletto’s Revue bar
Thurs 15 March to Sat 17 March 2018
Ticket price range $12-$16
Booking details


NZ Fringe’s spiciest show about a good Catholic school girl’s sexual awakening that lead to her subsequent career! Featuring the hilarious Maddie May, this show’s a bit cheeky in more ways than one…

Ivy Bar and Cabaret, 63 Cuba Street, Wellington
Wed 6 – Sat 9 March 2019
General Admission $20.00
Concession $17.50
Fringe Addict $14.00

Theatre , Cabaret ,

1 hour

Sexy, sassy and playful

Review by Francesca Emms 07th Mar 2019

After descending into the Ivy Bar I find a prime spot in the centre of the cabaret style seating. The space quickly fills with a warm, supportive and excited audience. It’s too dark for me to read the programme before the show but afterwards I see a note from Maddie May telling us that she hopes we leave “not with a sense of how to be a stripper, but how to be your best version of you.” I wish I had read that before the show because I am kept on tenterhooks throughout, and ultimately disappointed when we don’t get to the part of the show where she tells us how to be a stripper. Towards the end of the show I think we are about to get “Stripping 101” presented on a children’s flip pad. But alas.

I do, however, learn how Maddie May became a stripper. In 50 minutes she takes us on a wild ride (pun intended) through her sexual awakenings, her highs and lows, and how she came to love (and lust) herself. Her monologue is frank and witty, and she covers every inch of the space using physical comedy, dance and audience participation.

Maddie May is sexy, sassy and playful. She muddles a few lines but her chatty delivery covers this quite well. She’s a confident performer with masses of charisma, so when she leaves the stage her absence is very much felt. This becomes a problem during her costume changes. A few happen on stage, and she keeps us engaged as she un/dresses. But the changes that happen off stage are not rewarding enough to make up for the time they take. The energy drops and we’re left wondering if something has gone wrong. There are also some issues with lighting and sound cues, but I’m sure these are just opening night glitches and will be sorted for the rest of the season.

I’m willing to bet that most people will find something relatable in this show. A few things that ring true for me are her deep exhaustion when performing in a touring children’s theatre show, her inability to say no, and her regret over past “slut-shaming”. On more than one occasion I hear unreserved sounds of agreement and recognition from the diverse audience. 

Maddie May’s story is interesting, sex and body positive, and she tells it with passion and charm. The serious moments in the later half of the show are heartbreakingly honest and I want to see more of this truthful, vulnerable side.

Maddie May shines most, however, when she’s doing her thing. The thing she loves most. The thing that makes her love herself. That’s when she’s on fire! 


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A fun, unique show

Review by Emer Lyons 16th Mar 2018

Entering Stilettos Revue Bar tonight makes me think about the other times I have found myself in strip clubs. I’ll admit it’s usually because they are the last places to stop serving alcohol. But tonight, I’m not here for the booze but for the . . . love of the theatre, of course!

Maddie May and Jordan Dickson have co-devised a hybrid piece of theatre/ cabaret/ comedy on a very hot (literally) topic. The atmosphere is steamy, with smoke billowing, red lights announcing STRIPTEASE, and other mandatory non-sexy signage. The lights are down real low as I squint around for a seat, feeling too shy to take one of the stools lining the stage and also fearing someone might misinterpret my notebook and pen as archaic perving devices.

Pop tunes pump out loosening the anticipation until Maddie May appears in a pair of stilettos I would murder myself on, and in a leotard that requires the services of highly skilled beautician. She walks by greeting the audience, caressing a few as she goes, a bit friendly and a lot seductive. Maddie May launches into her step-by-step guide to how she became a stripper from birth to pole.

The comedic narrative is interspersed with much nudity, crafty costume changes, an emotionally captivating dance with a stuffed doll, the obligatory strobe light sequence and, most importantly, incredible stripping. She works the pole and the audience beautifully so it’s not in the least bit uncomfortable. Her obvious ease on the stage strengthens the intention of her sex-positive message.  That’s the most important part of this, that it’s positive and self-affirming.

How To Be A Stripper delivers a message of self-love to women, and Stilettos creates a safe space within which to hear it. Afterwards there is the opportunity to stay and enjoy further entertainment from the talented women of Maddie’s stripping whanau. It’s a fun, unique show by two of Dunedin’s finest. Get tickets while you can! 


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