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In Silence of the Labia, Perth stand-up comedian and member of hit local comedy group The Motherhood, Simone Springer, brings humour and magic (or ‘vagic’ as Springer puts it), to her nude comedy offering that’s equal parts quiz show, striptease and lady parts for FRINGE WORLD. With four shows on Friday and Saturday, February 8 and 9 as well as February 15 and 16 at Rigbys Bar (more info here), Springer has more than a few surprises up her sleeve. CHERYL LIM caught up with Springer to talk about how she became involved with stand-up comedy.

You’ve said: “When women take their clothes off it’s seen as either over-sexualised, controversial or it’s to make a statement.” Your show does not try to make a statement but it’s not a ‘sexy show’ either: it is just fun. Why do you think female striptease tends to fall into one of two extreme categories, whereas shows featuring male striptease such as Puppetry of the Penis and The Naked Magicians are perceived as just entertainment. Also, how does Silence of the Labia stand out from other shows featuring nudity or striptease?

All women any shape or size can be sexy. This show strips that away. My aim was always just to show the funny side without being crass or controversial. We take something that should be seen as sexy and give it a whole new character. I still laugh during the show. Myself and my assistant Lady V (Miss Obscene) decided to make this show fun. We have fun during the show and the audience comes along for the ride. I’ve never seen anything like it. It stands alone as a new nude comedy.

You’re a member of hit local comedy group The Motherhood, who are staging two other FRINGE WORLD shows, Surviving the Circus and Jumumji. The Motherhood finds the humour in what it is to be a mother as you share stories of parenting failures and mishaps. How did you start getting involved with The Motherhood? 

Being a stand-up comedian and a woman I am already a minority in the industry. Add in being a mum and that pool is even smaller. The Motherhood was the brain child of two absolute killer stand-up comics and mums in Perth. And they chose us and said they didn’t want to do it without us. Now we are a team. Being a mum is hard work. It’s nice to be able to be part of something that’s honest and lets you laugh at yourself and your failures. People have asked me what shows I prefer to do. I’m a stand-up first and foremost but when it comes to these shows they are like children, I love them both differently. But only one I’d take to a dinner party.

How did you get into stand-up comedy and ‘cut your teeth’ as a performer? 

I owned Burlesque Baby, a burlesque and modern pin-up style store in Perth, for over a decade. Doing Silence of the Labia has been the closest I’ve come to burlesque. There’s some dancing but as a performer I started by doing stand-up in 2016. I’m new and have been given some amazing opportunities so early on. I am forever grateful. It was terrifying to start! If it wasn’t for the support of some of the local comedians, one in particular Cameron McLaren telling me to keep going, my second open mic would have been my last. It was like a personal challenge to me that’s ended up being something I’m very lucky to get paid to do.

Silence of the Labia features a fair bit of audience interaction. Is the success of your show somewhat dependent on how relaxed and willing the audience are to let loose and have fun? How do you get around an audience that may be a bit more reserved? 

So far, we’ve been very lucky that the audiences have been keen to get involved (sometimes too keen) as I need help from the audience very early on. I’m friendly and not there to make fun of anyone (at least until the “Game of Groans” section of the show) so I feel like I gain the trust early on and build from there. Together, we work the crowd and I love that about the show; I don’t know what I’ll get back.

Obviously, the name of your show is a pun on a movie about a serial killer, Silence of the Lambs. What does the movie have in common with Silence of the Labia besides the name?

Other than there being human meat? Nothing really. The show actually started as a bit I used to do about this ‘new comedy’ I was going to do. It always got good laughs and I started thinking what started literally as a joke would actually make a ridiculous and funny show. I still use a Trump joke from the first ever bit I wrote.

Silence of the Labia is described as “part stand up, part magic (or ‘vagic’), part quiz show, part side show and part… lady parts”. Besides striptease and lots of irreverent humour, what can audiences expect when they head down to Rigby’s Bar for one of your shows between Friday, February 8 and Saturday, February 16?

The show is broken into five-minute segments so we cram a lot into the show. Our last show ran about half an hour over time but people still said “it went so fast” because the audience is kept on their toes. I’m always reluctant to give too much away. Come with an open mind and maybe not with your parents.

Oh! And nudity. There is nudity. Expect that. It’s in all the marketing but I think some people are still caught off guard with it. So, expect that… but nudity in a way you’ve never seen before.

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