Performance: A Misadventure in Soho

Ruth Ivo


An electrifying memoir of X-rated burlesque and the excesses of late capitalism from the dark heart of London’s Soho.

Published 9 May 2024
ISBN: 9781399720700 Category: Tags: ,


‘Performance is theatrical, immersive and utterly heartbreaking. An astonishing debut’ Christie Watson

‘A story this addictive, it’s hard not to consume it in one go’ Rhyannon Styles

As ‘Ruby’, Ruth Ivo was a successful burlesque performer, living in blissful bohemian squalor on a decommissioned military boat and spending her evenings unfolding from a Fabergé egg in various London clubs. Her life changes when she is asked to become show director at ‘The Club’, a place as secretive as it is notorious. Before long, she’s trawling Soho back streets for props and knocking back shots with movie stars and billionaires.

But as her nights unravel in a maelstrom of glamour and chaos behind the scenes, she feels her grasp on reality slipping through her fingers, and her soul wrung out by decadence. Under pressure to produce shows each more shocking than the last, she watches the performers under her care contort themselves before baying crowds. When a devastating event leaves her unmoored, Ruby has to wonder if she’s sold her soul to the devil . . . or become him.

Performance is a visceral and exquisitely written portrait of a place that has come to embody the excesses of late capitalism; of tumbling willingly down the rabbit hole, only to lose yourself in the dark.

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