Elaine Davidson's Kinky Freakshow

Elaine Davidson is something of an Edinburgh icon. She can be regularly seen performing on the Royal Mile and is hard to miss; her multi-coloured hair and several hundred piercings make her a unique sight. She holds the Guinness World Record for “Most Pierced Woman’ and has been featured in documentaries, movies and TV shows.

A car crash of a performance; there’s no structure and no real entertainment.

Her show begins late and our first sight of Davidson is when she pops her head out from behind the curtain to ask why the music isn’t playing and if the audience are in yet. Shortly after, Bonnie Tyler’s Holding Out For A Hero begins playing at ear-piercing level (no pun intended) and Davidson enters clutching two LED whips. A spectacular visual to open the show you might think? Unfortunately, it seems that Davidson doesn’t actually have any skill with the whips and spend the entire four minutes of the song thrashing the whips around somewhat enthusiastically whilst walking around a table draped in red velvet before finally introducing herself.

It’s a sparse crowd in Greenside tonight and Davidson asks each of us our name and where we’re from before picking a chap from the front row to assist her in getting out of her voluminous skirts. Much like the opening act, this goes on for far too long and the audience begin glancing at each other. At this point, I get the impression that we’ve all decided that this is unlikely to be a very slick or professional show but I’m still in the game; the freakshow hasn’t started yet and I’m optimistic that she can turn it around. I’m wrong.

Once Davidson has been stripped down to a lycra bodysuit and a tutu, she pulls back the red velvet to reveal an array of dildos, fake vaginas, whips and assorted other BDSM gear. Again, I’m hopeful that these are just silly props as she grabs a sword and proceeds to insert it through her tongue and twist it for a bit. It’s clearly a pre-existing piercing rather than a gory skewering but it, at least, qualifies as freakshow. However, there’s not much to it and she quickly moves on to the real meat of the show; clambering all over her volunteer and occasionally displaying the various ways that she can insert a selection of sex toys into each other. It’s uncomfortable viewing, not because it’s overtly sexual or challenging but because the volunteer looks so embarrassed. At one point, Davidson makes him clutch a fake vagina as she thrusts a dildo into it before forcing him onto the floor so she can straddle his face. There’s no art or finesse to what she’s doing; it’s just a woman rubbing herself over a man and, every now and then, presenting sex toys to the audience for us to acknowledge that yes, that’s certainly a large dildo you have there. Around this point, a man in the front row makes for the exit and I watch him go with a pang of jealousy.

There’s a couple of other attempts at freakshow; Davidson hangs a mirrorball from one of her clitoral piercings and swings it about for a bit and later hangs a canister from her septum. Each feat would be impressive if it wasn’t presented with such a lack of showmanship and she constantly has to demand applause. In between each of these she returns to her volunteer who is superhumanly patient in his tolerance for being humiliated.

Elaine Davidson’s Kinky Freakshow is a car crash of a performance; there’s no structure and no real entertainment. At the end of the show she apologises if she upset anyone with her sexuality and hopes that we weren’t offended. Having worked in and reviewed cabaret and performance art for several years, I’ve seen it all and, although I’d say I’m pretty unshockable, I was a little offended at just how bad this show managed to be.

Reviews by Frodo Allan

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The Blurb

A rare opportunity to see lifetime Guiness World Record holder Elaine Davidson – the world's most pierced woman – up close and personal doing what she does best. Dog collars, whips and chains, and so many more daringly delicious fetish feats.

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