Ashley Hames: Confessions Of A Sex Reporter

Warning: it is quite possible that this review will mention (by necessity) things that may produce disturbing and terrifying images in your head. It is quite possible that you will feel violated. And not in a good way. I wish I had read this warning before I saw the show.Ashley Hames is a TV Sex Reporter. That is actually a fact and not a joke. After a stint of working at Live TV, which generally involved being dressed as a rabbit, he graduated to directing Topless Darts with the highly coveted title Head of Sex. Following this, he moved to Bravo TV as the presenter of the erotic late night show Sin Cities, giving him VIP access to porn shoots, swingers parties, fetish nights and gang-bangs, before OFCOM ruled that his exploits went too far. Consequently he swiftly became unemployed and this is his story. I kid you not.It is a story that is definitely not suited to the squeamish, religious or the easily offended. The opening two minutes contains a video of Hames tied down and having his scrotum nailed to a plank of wood and from there it gets a lot, lot worse. Throughout the show Hames plays several clips from his television days, ranging from a man being stamped on by a stiletto-wearing fetish host to himself having red wine pumped into his ass. Even the slightly drunken Saturday night crowd found it hard to watch some of these images; yet, at the same time, some grotesque compulsion keeps everyone's eyes glued to the screen.Interspersed with this is his account of how he came to work in such an industry and the stories behind such clips, leading up to an audience vote on whether his sacking was justified or not. It is actually here that Hames redeems himself slightly. He is naturally rather funny and likeable and, despite the horrific videos, you do warm to him and he succeeds in holding everyone's attention, even with the late start meaning a finishing time of 12.20am. There are also some fantastic moments of comedy, the best being a music track playing whilst the third nail goes in near the end of the show. I won't spoil the joke but it generated a lot of laughter on Saturday night. However, the piece does feel a little under-rehearsed. The performance aspect was rather low, with lots of looking at the floor and shuffling through notes, become unstuck a few times after not being able to find his place again. In addition, the show seems to end rather abruptly, although this could be because earlier digressions from his account meant some things needed to be shaved off near the end on that particular night. At one point Hames quotes a criticism of his programmes as “the worst kind of television that teaches us nothing”. This theatre production definitely doesn't teach us anything (apart from several new pieces of vocabulary and sexual practice), yet it is not the worst kind. There is something morbidly fascinating about it and my attention was held throughout; even if I did really wish that I hadn't been so attentive at certain bits later. And sadly it is those bits that seem to linger in the head afterwards.Ultimately, we know that it was definitely not for the squeamish, the religious or the easily offended; but I have no idea who it would actually be for.

Reviews by Damian Sandys

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The Blurb

From his inauspicious start as the original Live TV News Bunny to the oh-so-giddy heights of fronting Bravo TV’s Sin Cities series, Ashley Hames gives us the lowdown on how he has managed to navigate his way through a minefield of television madness.

Best selling author and charismatic TV Sex Reporter Ashley Hames makes his Edinburgh Festival debut with his show ‘Ashley Hames – Confessions of A Sex Reporter’ . He will bring his hilarious true tales to the unsuspecting public in this strictly 18 + X rated show Upstairs at the Pleasance Courtyard!

Starting at the beginning, Ashley will explain how he got arrested while dressed as a rabbit and standing for parliament – providing Live TV with what station boss Kelvin Mackenzie described at the time as ‘the best fucking television I’ve ever seen in my life.’ After a stint as the Director of the infamous Topless Darts and the seminal Weather in Norwegian, Ashley went on to celebrate his 30th birthday with the official job title ‘Head of Sex.’ All of which was perfect preparation for the latest vacancy at Bravo TV for presenting the erotic late night show Sin Cities – a series which was to take him on an x-rated worldwide odyssey, giving him a VIP seat at innumerable porn shoots, swingers parties, fetish nights and gang-bangs . He went on to write a best selling book of the same name.

This year’s Edinburgh Festival will provide Ashley with the platform to detail these experiences – on and off-camera – at the frontline of the most bizarre and extreme in human sexual behaviour. There are, however, a multitude of on-camera exploits which could take some explaining! These include having his scrotum nailed to a plank of wood; having a red wine enema; getting his left breast injected with saline; starring in several low-rent porn flicks; and – last but not least - dressing up as a baby and having an ‘accident’....in a brothel.

When the cameras stopped rolling, Ashley will explain how life on the Sin Cities road continued unabated, not least a night out in Stockholm which ended up costing him a night in jail and a fine of £5000. Ashley has won many fans by being honest, up-front and likeable – charming qualities, which – combined with a gonzo-style recklessness - should see him take Edinburgh by storm.

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