“My Body Is My Home”: A Review of Neptune Henriksen’s BEING A WOMAN FOR MONEY

When I walked into The Butterfly Club at 10pm on a rainy, mid-April Wednesday, I didn’t expect to walk out both having seen an entirely naked body and experiencing a euphoric sense of utter self-acceptance.


When I walked into The Butterfly Club at 10pm on a rainy, mid-April Wednesday, I didn’t expect to walk out both having seen an entirely naked body and experiencing a euphoric sense of utter self-acceptance.


After seeing Neptune Henriksen’s hilariously unhinged sixty-minute stand-up show, Being A Woman For Money, I can confidently say that my respect for my own body has risen to all-new heights.


Neptune is a non-binary Naarm-based performer, writer, director and theatre-maker. Being A Woman For Money is their latest “queer-as-fuck show” which unapologetically probes into some of the toxic structures which rule our society, such as gender and capitalism, with an eccentric humour.  Audience members are left clutching their stomachs from laughter while also having gained an entirely new perspective on identity.


From chatting to Neptune about their journey to where they find themselves now, I was able to see their show in a whole new light.


Ultimately, Being A Woman For Money pleaded for audience members to find comfort within their own skin. During the sixty minutes of the show, this plea shone through Neptune’s entertainingly offbeat performance drawn from their own dealings with gender and identity. Their experiences range from being a stripper to a life model to a full-service sex worker to a “failed woman.”


Similar to their previous theatre performance, Making It Rain, Neptune recounted past tales of their encounters with identity, as they stripped off an item of clothing. This, Neptune described, was an act of “mirroring the vulnerability of the show with the vulnerability of my physical body.” As they explained to me how Being A Woman For Money came into being, Neptune said that after their experiences of being a stripper, a life model, and a full-service sex worker, “this show…sort of came out of the general piles of ideas and stuff, where, I was like, it could sort of be a spiritual sequel to Making It Rain.”


One of my own personal favourite aspects of Neptune’s show was the complete ease they appeared to have on stage. In Being A Woman For Money, Neptune utilised each and every corner of the stage as though it were an extension of their own physical body.


Speaking to Neptune about this, they explained to me how it is a common experience for neurodivergent people to feel ‘at home’ on stage. Neptune was diagnosed with autism at 27, at a point in their life where they questioned if it was “too late” for them. “The fact that on stage I get to, sort of, make the parameters of the pretend is a very empowering experience,” Neptune explained. “But it also lends to a familiarity because it’s like I’ve been performing my entire life, like if I’m on or off stage, I’ve been performing.” Neptune described how the act of being on stage is a fulfilling experience because there is an acknowledgement from the audience of the amount of time and effort which goes into performing, “whereas if I’m masking, i.e. performing in real life there isn’t really an acknowledgement of all the work I’m putting in to do this, and so it doesn’t really feel as gratifying to me, and so it’s just exhausting because I don’t really feel seen by anyone. But on stage, I do feel seen.”


Neptune and I also had an invigorating conversation about responsibility. As they cover a range of vital topics in their show, I wondered if they’d experienced any sort of pressure as a result of this. To this, Neptune responded, “I try to think about it as like a responsibility, the idea that something isn’t my fault, but it is my responsibility.”


They do, however, understand the limits in communicating these themes using stand-up as a medium. They said, “I could present something in the most well-thought-out, most articulate, most considerate way, and it might not still be heard by someone because they’re just not ready to hear it yet.”


My main takeaway from Being A Woman For Money had to be the notion that my own physical body is my home, and that that home should be treated with a certain dignity and respect. The final crescendo of Neptune’s performance, wherein they dance, almost euphorically, using their naked body to Fall Out Boy’s ‘I Slept With Someone In Fall Out Boy And All I Got Was This Stupid Song’, left me with a feeling that my body is so much more than how it physically looks. Just by seeing Neptune’s utter comfort within their own skin, I too felt, from their contagious energy, a similar comfort. On this, Neptune said to me “If anyone looks to me for any kind of example, I definitely want it to be, like, to love our bodies and know that this is our home, we can’t ever really escape it.”


Being A Woman For Money completed its run at The Melbourne International Comedy Festival on April 21; however, this is far from the end of this spirited and amusingly abnormal stand-up show. Neptune performed the show at the Perth Comedy Festival on May 3 and 4, and is going to be performing a one-off out-of-season gig with the opportunity for a talkback session at the whimsically ornamented venue, The Butterfly Club. This show is set to run at 7PM on Thursday, 13 June. They are also working on another show for 2025.


I encourage anyone who is able to watch Neptune perform. They have an eccentrically hilarious way of making the stage their own, and have a remarkable ability to create hysterical laughter within their audience while also fostering inside of them a newfound knowledge of their own identity, and that of others.


Neptune said, as a final note, that they “really relish the opportunity to be able to show people there are possibilities for who they could become.” “I think it’s really encouraging and affirming to someone who is ten, fifteen, years younger than me,” they said. “To come and see this show and see someone who is out, who is non-binary, who is trans, who has done sex work and…see there are things that they could do with their life.”


You can follow Neptune on Instagram through their handle @neptunehenriksen, or you can stay up to date on all their future, and previous, shows and endeavours on their website.

Farrago's magazine cover - Edition One 2024


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