private residence, London – until 11 March 2017
Stripping off isn’t generally the first thing you do when you get to work but for naked house cleaner Ethan Mechare that was the point. As to what happened next, well, it could be just about anything. He also did some cleaning sometimes.
In his one-man show Coming Clean, currently being performed in various venues, including the spotless living room of his home in Bounds Green, Ethan revisits his experiences working as a naked house cleaner. But first, how did he start out in this?
Ethan was at a loss. He’d moved to London from his native California but didn’t know what to do with himself. In the end, he turned to Oprah Winfrey’s O magazine for some inspirational advice, and he made himself a mood board/vision board/dream board. On his board, he realised, were two things he really loved: naked fun with other guys and spot cleaning. Oh boy, does he love spot cleaning. And so, a small business was born.
Under the name Ernest, he advertised his services, and clients in all their weird and wonderful variety started to book him. There was the guy in the pristine apartment who wanted Ernest to, um, pleasure himself and then clean it all up. There was the 50-something East End cab driver whose wife had recently died, who invited a hot, young “mate” over to join he and Ernest and make it a party. And there was the ex-military South Londoner who also invited a guest, but sadly left Ernest downstairs with the vacuum cleaner.
There was also the man who wanted Ernest to recreate a niche interest video he’d seen on the internet. Ernest declined to do it but Ethan gleefully showed it to us. (If it’s not to your taste you can vote not to watch it, but I suggest that you don’t. It’s less gross than it sounds, and rather charming in its own way.)
Helping Ethan throughout the show is his friend, stage manager, sound effects engineer and snack distributor Cath Royle, a sort of Madge Allsop meets Debbie McGee figure, except she banters back when Ethan mocks her. The dynamic between the two is a perfect combination of bitchy and loving, and Cath’s a great addition to the show.
The masterstroke, though, is performing the show in a house. This is about fantasies where the erotic and the domestic are combined, and perhaps only in someone’s real life, lived in, living room can a group of strangers feel comfortable enough to participate. What are your fantasies, Ethan asks, have they ever been fulfilled, and dare you admit to them? Some did, even if it was just to confess that, being British, some of this is a bit too much for them.
Whatever your fantasy or taste in online videos, this is a life-affirming, funny and thought-provoking show, cleverly put together with director Jill Patterson and well-performed by Ethan Mechare.