Fire Eating Stripper Marshall Arkely Returning to SBN – Stark Bollock Naked at Union
Rob Dean undresses him with his words
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Hi Marshall, I know that you’re always in demand with a show tonight and another tomorrow so let´s just cut to the chase if that´s ok?
I hear that you have always been a high achiever at school, and a gymnast.
Oh no! In school I was not a gymnast! In fact, would you believe I was shaped like a potato? I wasn´t particularly athletic, although I felt at home on the rugby pitch. I excelled at theatre instead, especially musical theatre and dance. And that´s where I gravitated to.
What led you to a career as a stripper?
About thirteen ago years I was invited to one brand of striptease by a friend of mine and although I was apprehensive it opened the door for a potential job offer before being invited to join the Adonis Cabaret, which was a completely unknown entity to me at the time. But I decided to go along and watch the performance with an open mind – and it got me hooked I kind of fell in love with it and from early on I would get on stage a little, kind of like a bit part, just helping out with things. I found myself gripped by the whole cabaret thing and I barely took a weekend off. Not because I had to, but because I loved what I was doing. I just loved the cabaret environment.
How old were you when you first realized that you could do helicopters with your cock?
Haha, I have no idea (laughs) I have always been a bit of an exhibitionist though. I remember being in the shower as a kid, playing with my foreskin. Strumming it like a guitar! I have always seen the humor in genitals if that makes sense.
I´m told that you are the headline performer of the Adonis Cabaret Show.
Yeah, It still exists but we struggled through the coronavirus. It´s currently playing in Brighton although we are currently trying to find a London venue, In a nutshell, we’re a comedy club with knobs on and doesn´t take itself too seriously. There are a lot of male stripteases out there and a lot of strip clubs t sell themselves on big group choreography and sex appeal, but with Adonis, the whole principle is that we wanted to make it a cabaret show for people to enjoy on another level. Instead of having big performances, there are frequent solo performances with lots of titillation – but fun. The solos are almost like a variety show in themselves with silliness, clap-along parts, and sections where you get the girls up from the audience. But always, above everything, everything must be fun.
Does Adonis Cabaret tour or does it have a residency at a particular venue?
It used to tour, but as it stands its only residency is Brighton.
Did you have to audition for your part?
I did, but I was very fortunate to be snapped up literally on the same night. But then it was a baptism of fire after that as one of my first shows was in front of screaming 300 girls in a theatre just not far from Old Street, Station, Shoreditch. My mentor at the time simply said to me before the performance: ¨Right, you have got 300 girls out there. They have all paid to have a good time, so just don´t fuck it up¨. And then he walked off…
Do you perform with other male troupes as well?
Yes, I have worked with Dream Boys and at the moment I am in talks about potentially going on tour with them. But it’s all about matching diaries and it gets rather complicated when working with more than one troupe. I work frequently with Forbidden Nights. I used to tour with them and was also one of their residents, and what with Adonis suffering from Covid, I took on more and more work with them. In fact I a working Saturday night! I also work regularly with Chocolate City which is hilarious as they hired me a ¨White Chocolate¨, which is something I will never forget. I have been quite fortunate since I have worked with most of the best tropes in Europe.
Seeing all that cock every day, would you consider yourself to be a size queen.
Yes!!! Although ironically the biggest one I have ever seen as someone who didn´t even work in the industry. This is the kind of guy who could walk on with just the flash of a penis and wrap his flaccid penis around your throat and strangle you. With people like that you become very humble, I´m not going to lie.
You regally reform wearing fireman´s gear. Is that ´the one uniform that really gets women off? And men too?
Honestly, Fireman is a classic. Police can be a mixed one, so you have to know your audience a little bit. The army uniforms are pretty solid in terms of response. Although the crisp, white navy officer tends to drive the women crazy. Almost surreal to be honest.
Apparently, you can also eat fire for a living. How did you discover a skill for that?
I saw others using fire as part of their theatrics and got absolutely obsessed with the fact that some people could pass set parts of their bodies on fire, so I taught myself the basics first before deciding that if I am going to be safe and impress I needed to clean my act up a bit: I teamed up with someone who could teach me the proper techniques I had had not considered and plowed away. I´ve now got myself a good brand for being one of the best-versed fire performers in the UK. There are not many fire eaters prepared to flare flames through their nose!
I have read that stripers are associated with big egos. How does that work sharing a small stage with a bunch of atheistic, well-endowed men?
If I am honest, it still exists amongst a couple of people who work for Chocolate City, for example – although if I am honest they are hired because they have that kind of vibe. But the guys who work on Forbidden Knights, are amazing; some of these are ex-Cirque de Solie and have no ego at all. It´s like a big family and it´s never even thought about. It´s just like when I perform with Adonis… it´s like a home away from home. It was a safe space and I miss it when the theatre is dark. I could arrive after having a really bad day and then I would go to work and perform with Adonis, forget all my problems, and give the girls a good show. It makes me feel like I have done something productive.
So, just wondering… How do you size up compared with the other men?
Not bad. I am not exactly the Bona Lisa of penises, but it does the job.
Are you gay?
No, I am a pan sexual. I stumbled across that somewhere in my life and was unsure of my sexuality for some time. Possibly because it was never discussed as a kid,
Your PR department at Adonis Cabaret describes their productions as ¨the perfect way to celebrate a birthday, hen party, or just a wild night out¨. Is it an environment for us gay guys to enjoy too?
Fuck yes! But the only reason why I didn´t like bringing up gay men to the stage at hen part is that when you blindfold them and you make them squeeze your 10 inches in their hand, they can tell when it is a dildo instantly, whereas a female often wouldn´t and think that its real penis in their grip.
That is another reason why I like working with Boy Toy. There are only two gay men in the cast, they are super talented with acrobatics and circus tricks throughout, high-octane energy, and a really good environment to be in. They interact really well with the men who come to see us.
I should imagine some crowds getting overly wild. How far do you agree to audience participation before you have to say enough now?
Audience participation comes down to this: If I invite you to stage, you can come; if I say you can touch, you can touch; but if you do anything other than that you can fuck off back to your table. That’s partly because some people come on stage because they want the attention, whereas I am the one being paid to entertain as a professional and they are causing distraction. As for the naughty side of audience participation, that simply doesn´t exist anymore. It used to exist as part of the old era of stripping and if it does appear again now, it will be stamped on and stopped ASAP because that´s not what we are paid to do. We are entertainers, we are not paid to touch or do anything like that.
Where do you feel more comfortable? Performing for eager gay guys or in front of screaming girls?
That´s a tough one; In a mixed audience in a theatre I get a really good response of ´whoops´ and cheers all the way through, whereas when I performed my first show at Fire there was complete silence… until the very end and then they guys went fucking mental. Boy Toy is a very LGBT show because it is run by a drag queen, we´ve got beautiful femme acts, so that´s always good to perform for the gays.
Modern-day strip shows are full of production. I always imagined that they would be rather cheesy.
There is a lot of cheese involved, but when you´ve got a circus performer spinning around on a metal reel high up in the air, roller blades zipping around the stage whilst other cast members are doing back flips and gymnastics and stuff – it is cheese but very well prepared cheese!
Apparently, some troupes change upwards 150 pounds a ticket. I had not realized stripping was such big business.
Yes, stripping can be big business, but when women pay to go to the West End to see a strip show what they actually get is a strip-themed show, and that is entirely different.
You are performing for Jamie HP this weekend at SBN and want to deliver a special live show.
Yes, I do wanna do a special show, something a lot more circusy but it is quite hard to squeeze the kind of show that I want to do for SBN given the stage time that I have got. But I love it there, the guys are always so nice there and to be honest I take it as a huge compliment that someone would want to stop fornicating in a dark room just to watch me taking my clothes off. What´s more, I perform in a room I am in a room full of strip naked people anyway, so the fact they want to see me undress is amazing. I have some great technology and lighting effects to bring along that should enhance the show and really make a lasting impression. I hope the boys like it.
Someone told me you can now book a surprise Zoomagram virtual stripper, featuring stripers from around the world. Did this come out as a result of Covid?
We used to do strips on Zoom, but they were not working out as financially viable. So much effort for little return. Adonis Cabaret piloted that for a while when they closed down the club during Covid. Interestingly the virtual strips attracted a 50/50 male/female mixed audience, maybe because you could do silly shit that wouldn´t work on stage. It had its appeal, it was fun, but like many business ideas, they don´t work out.
Some women claim to have their lucky knickers, do you have a favorite thong? Is it a lucky charm?
I don´t wear thongs on stage! I like wearing tight, white boxers that are micro-fiber or like single-ply so that people can see as much as possible without seeing everything. I like to tease. If I am fluffed up it would not fit in a thong anyway. It would look like a tent pole! it would be ridiculous.
Do you own a penis pump? Should I get one?
Yes! I do. I don´t think you´d need one personally. In theory, it sounds hot, but in the chaos of a theatre backstage putting on a pump is just common sense. So much easier.
Do you perform the full Monty?
Not the routine. Not the film, but yes I do go fully naked.
For fans of yours or anyone who is intrigued, where can they see more of you?
Go to my social media Marshall Arkley. I am always posting about the shows that I am doing, or of course, you could come to SBN soon at Union in Vauxhall. Doors open 2 pm. The show goes live at 5 pm.