If I ran the world, Cameryn Moore would be approximately a million times more famous than she currently is. Part of me is always staggered that she’s not a household name amongst kink folk, given the sheer amount and quality of the work she does.
Aside from hosting a constantly-rotating circuit of smutty open mics across the country, she also tours with several brilliant one-woman shows, sells books, and occasionally pitches up on the pavement to write personalised erotica for passersby on an antique typewriter. Good personalised erotica, too. Better than ninety-nine percent of the material that keeps Amazon’s grubby little operation afloat.
By all accounts she’s a one-woman sexyfilthy powerhouse. She is brilliant. And yet when I went to see her latest show Nerdfucker at the Edinburgh Fringe in August this year I was one of only about three people in the audience. Which is crazy, because it was one of the best things I saw in my entire three-week stint at the festival.
That room should have been packed wall to wall for every show. There should have been tickets for sale at vastly inflated prices on eBay. It is a travesty that Andy Parsons can sell out a theatre by grumbling about inconsequential giraffeshit, while some of the most brilliant theatre on the Fringe goes almost entirely unnoticed in a hot little room in the conference centre of a hotel.
Here is Nerdfucker: Moore plays a woman who is about to facilitate a game of chess. In fact, she’s going to be the board. Naked and on all fours in front of a massed audience, she’ll be the table over which two brilliant players meet and match wits.
But with just an hour to go until the tournament commences, she’s having doubts. Does she really want to go through with this? And is it just the players who are using her? What is she getting out of the complex relationship with her supremely geeky boyfriend? And does it matter that the players who are going to be hunched over her naked body for the next few hours don’t even know her name?
As setups go, it’s a bit of a curveball. So much so that the play basically has to set aside the first ten minutes to spell out the general premise and sketch in the world of the show… a warm-up that it at least leavens somewhat with almost-instant tits.
Once the admin’s out of the way though, Nerdfucker is intense. Moore spends most of the forty-five minute run-time talking directly to the audience – who are, ostensibly, early arrivals for the chess spectacle, and therefore entirely complicit in any discomfort she might feel. It’s a play where she’s not talking at you. She’s talking to you.
The only other show I’ve seen by Moore was Phone Whore, which was similarly tense. Both shows are entertaining. Both had moments which made the audience laugh. Both were witty and weird and complex. But both also had moments where you could feel your own skull. Where your guts stood on end. Where Moore tuned into something excruciating and dark and thrilling.
The feeling is akin to being pinned down and made to look at something unpleasant. But it’s something that you recognise too. It’s something that, normally, sits inside of you somewhere. Deeply buried enough to be invisible… until someone forcibly directs your gaze onto it at least.
For me, this feeling reached a peak in Nerdfucker during a scene in which the unnamed speaker soliloquises about a threesome she never really, actually, strictly speaking wanted to have. There’s a sticky, heavy sense of dread to the whole scene. And it feels that way because it’s so bloody familiar. You’ve heard this before, but never quite so eloquently.
I realise now that I’ve made this play sound like a forty-five minute torture session. Nevermind that, given the readership of this blog, that probably equates to a very positive review… it’s not accurate.
Both Nerdfucker and Phone Whore have their darker moments, but they’re also superbly written character studies, funny, and weird and relatable in all sorts of ways. Yes, they’re the kind of shows you wouldn’t want to watch with your grandma, but they’re also the kind of shows that it’s definitely worth ditching your grandma in a tea shop for an hour in order to sneak away and watch.
The long and the short of this is that Cameryn Moore writes brilliant, intelligent, nuanced, one-woman plays about sex (although she says Nerdfucker’s mainly about relationships), and you should go and see them. And you should tell everyone you know about them, and about her. Because as long as we’re living in a world where Phill Jupitus’s utterly shit poetry can command more of audience than a play as brilliant as this, we’re living in a world that’s just fucking stupid.
In case you didn’t know, I also write filthy stories. Wanna read some?
Seen Nerdfucker? Loved it? Hated it? Tell me all about it.
If you love weird sexy theatre as well we should definitely be friends.