Adelaide Fringe 2015
Queenie Bon Bon takes the audience for an insight into her life as a sex worker who enjoys her work, her co-workers and her clients. Her openness and honesty and straightforward language pulls no punches, giving us a very real, almost tangible feel for the acts she performs and an understanding of the reasons why she does what she does. This is not an actor playing a role, but a professional giving people more than just a glimpse into a world mostly unknown outside of the sex for money trade.
The setting is sparse. A stage with table, chair, a microphone on a stand, two speakers and on the table, a box of tissues flanked by 2 coloured dildos on stands. Queenie Bon Bon walks through the audience in her sheer black bodice and stilettos, sits, opens her book and starts slowly narrating her life as a sex worker through a series of anecdotal stories.
The first 2 stories are about her early days, novice mistakes and how she came out as a sex worker to her mum. It is slow to start, Queenie is relatively new to theatre, but her choice of language is deliberate, although it took several stories in to realise this. Her third story about her world-travelled and educated artist boyfriend from a moneyed family and his attitude towards her and her choice of career is where her strong understanding of human behaviour and attitudes show through. Her use of psychological terms combine well with her own blunt language. She is no naïve girl, but very much aware of her choices. She doesn’t need “saving” and he is dismissed for his judgmental attitude and failure to appreciate that.
In the rest of her performance Queenie lets us in on intimate details of sex acts with some of her clients and the building of relationships with them. Her care for them is easily accepted. An older gentleman becoming her regular client asking her to leave her husband for him, a good night resulting in her buying a car on her way home and the story about the golden shower and her client’s behaviour had my gag reflex engaged. Her language is matter-of-fact and blunt, but not over-the-top and there are plenty of laughs throughout the show, her good humour shines. Her work is how she provides for her lifestyle. She is as professional as any other tradesperson who takes pride in their skills.
“Making bank” is why she is a sex worker, but it is only one facet of a woman who is comfortable with her choices in life. Her philosophy and understanding of psychology which comes through clearly in her performance makes for a strong argument why South Australia should revisit its status as the Nanny State, the only state in Australia where sex workers are treated as criminals. Queenie is not a victim, she is not trapped by circumstances, she does not need saving. Queenie chooses this life and this work.
The only negative for me is her referring to her book during her performance, which causes her to break eye contact with the audience. If she memorised the whole performance it would be better, but I am happy to highly recommend the show if you want to be informed in an entertaining way about a subject many do not talk about, but if you’re a close-minded, judgmental, wowser, give it a miss.