Camden Fringe 2012
Camden People's Theatre
A look into the life of a sometime sex worker, this Coin-Operated Girl stands up to reveal the truth about working in the industry and why it was just right for her.
Here we have Miranda Kane, aka Melody, formerly a successful £2,000-a-night escort. From her first foray into internet dating to creating an online profile as a one-of-a-kind BBW (Big Beautiful Woman) with ample personality to play with, dejection at twenty-five stone became a thing of the past, her confidence grew, and for seven years Kane lost a little but profited a lot from her chosen profession. Candid and factual, she tells us all about the inner-workings of the sex industry and the role of the sex worker, dispelling a few well-established myths in the meantime. Coin-operated Girl offers Kane the opportunity to tell her story without reserve.
Despite a slightly nervy start (not surprising on opening night), Kane is at once arresting and engaging, spirited and razor-sharp. She finds a place from which she can talk freely and tells her tales with diverting humour, challenging herself to captivate her audience just as she challenges sizeist attitudes. She gives answers to questions asked of her in the past, covers facts/fictions, misconceptions, stigmatisations, making friends, client quirks, outsider opinions, and reveals the reason behind why she chose to do the show: “I know that I have to own it”. But this is not self-promotion. Kane provides the audience an escapade into the life of a sex worker, through the perks and the pitfalls. She cites those seven years as among the best, a learning curve with loveable clients (save the Armani-clad businessmen) and a lot of laughs.
Feeling like an impromptu performance, it’s a friendly, informative approach, more akin to backstage off-the-cuff conversation than theatrical comedy or meticulously-rehearsed stand-up. The question and answer session at the end allows for further education and for Kane to showcase her often enviable ad-lib skills, but it does make her vaguely resemble some visiting university lecturer.
This is an eye-opening account of one woman’s experience of a profession which continues to edge its way out of taboo territory. Though seminar-like in setup and feeling that improvements could be made in terms of structure and finish, Kane is a very likable performer with an interesting story/perspective to share. It’s easy to care for her story and for her perspective, so she’s certainly doing something right.