Maude Davey is a living legend in the Melbourne burlesque scene, having performed over 20 years in varying stages of nudity, combining various forms of theatrical disciplines. In this swan song My Life In The Nude, Davey takes an intimate look back at that career, presenting memories in monologue sequences, as well as performing key burlesque/cabaret pieces, almost in a “greatest hits” format. She reprises a 1991 competition winning work involving a secret strawberry, which kick started her work exploring nudity, and goes through a phenomenal repertoire, culminating in an emotional Butoh-style work about ageing, with a character reminiscent of Grizabella from the Cats musical.
Even though every sequence is meticulously choreographed and always packing a powerful political punch, tenacious in the representation of queer and feminist ideologies, it is ultimately the presence of the artist that makes the show the masterpiece that it is. Davey’s craft is honed to perfection. The audience simply has no where to run when she is onstage, lost in her charisma, her humour, her every gesture and every poignant utterance. Davey imbues each moment on stage with great reverence and generosity, and it is in that spirit of giving of her self that we find ourselves in awe and in the receiving end of a rare gift, not just of masterful showmanship but also of sheer naked humanity.