The British Ambassador's Belly Dancer (3 stars)

This article is from 2008

The British Ambassador's Belly Dancer

Shaking things up

Belly dancing, spanking, stripping and politics are the intriguing ingredients of this rags-to-riches tale in which object of media notoriety Nadira Aleiva (who was mistress to the controversial former ambassador in Uzbekistan, Craig Murray) tells her story through the medium of song and dance.

Nadira’s monologue charts her personal history, from poverty in Uzbekistan with an abusive father and limited options, to a life of luxury in the ambassador’s house, and a descent into pennilessness in Britain. Her version is intercut with voiceovers in which Murray tells his side of the story as well as salacious details of their relationship (apparently he likes a bit of slap and tickle).

Her story highlights the ongoing injustices women face under oppressive regimes, where rape and beatings are commonplace. She condemns the male abuse of power and sexual exploitation and rejoices at the fact that, as a woman ‘sold into freedom’, she is finally free to express herself through her words and her dancing. The rather unimaginative staging aside, it’s a tale worth telling.

Gilded Balloon Teviot, 668 1633, until 24 Aug (not 11), 1.30pm, £9–£10 (£8–£9).

The British Ambassador's Belly Dancer

  • 3 stars

A rags-to-riches-and-back-again tale of sexual exploitation, as the former mistress to the British ambassador to Uzbekistan tells her story through the medium of song and dance. Worth a visit. 'Part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe'