Just to clear up any confusion about what this show is exactly, it is more a talk than a performance. Miranda Kane, also known as Melody, spent seven years as an escort, and is using this piece as a medium to bravely and honestly tell her stories and truths, highlighting several misconceptions about the business. This is not, however, a depressing or harrowing experience. Kane informs and educates us about the industry, focusing on the positive side; how she, and others like her, have benefitted from the profession, both lucratively and psychologically.
The evening is, without doubt, very interesting and entertaining, but it is at its most captivating when Kane is being herself - that is, being Miranda Kane and not 'Melody'. Occasionally, she tries a little too hard to be funny, or to highlight double-entendres. What she is maybe unaware of is just how charming and likeable she is naturally. She doesn’t need to layer her own personality, nor genuinely intriguing stories, with a ‘performance’.
Understandably, as with many first nights, she takes a little time to ease into her presentation, but when she relaxes, she becomes a rather beguiling host. It is clear from the start that Kane is a humble and caring lady with an innate ability to captivate her audience, so with just a touch more stage confidence, and perhaps some direction, I believe it is fair to say that she has the potential to really enthrall them.
Indeed, this is a fascinating evening, but as previously stated, it feels more like a lecture than a show. So if this piece works well as more or less of a lesson, does it even need to try to become more of a performance piece? Does it have the potential to work as an actual show? I would say yes. Kane’s evening leans slightly towards standup comedy, and I feel that with a director on board, she could be guided to give a slick and alluring, yet educating rendition of a stand-up comedy show. At the moment, The Coin-Operated Girl doesn’t quite seem to know exactly what it is, and to be fair, this is an experiment. There is plenty of room for the show, and for Kane, to develop during its first trial run.
So, there’s real potential for this to become a powerful piece of theatre with a few tweeks here and there, but it’s been a good start. What I cannot stress enough, though, is just how much bravery must be required to even venture on such a project. As Kane is so affable and has such a warm, gentle voice, it doesn’t seem like hard work for her to talk about these taboo subjects, but we must remember that the tales she is telling are not your everyday life stories, and she should be given credit for being so open.
Finally, perhaps one of the most pleasing aspects of the night is that Kane has a genuine reason behind her show. She’s not just putting on a piece of theatre to pay the rent (especially as that is so rarely the objective in theatre!), or even to promote herself. Kane is doing this to enlighten people about life as a sex worker, whether that be explaining the vast monthly outgoings you need to invest in to make your business a success, or about what your ‘thousands of pounds a night’ rate might actually boil down to in the end. Miranda Kane seems a lovely lady who was apparently in the profession for the right reasons, and will, hopefully, open your eyes with her revelations.