I don’t know if this is news to you, but it’s hot. Like, really hot. It was especially hot on the night I went to the Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose Snug, where 2020 Funny Women Awards finalist Jen Ives is performing her debut show Peak Trans. When Jen burst onto the stage WWE wrestler style with smacktalk about how dangerous trans people are, I think everyone in the packed out audience hoped she might spray the beer cans she was smashing against her head (that is how dangerous Jen is) all over us.
In spite of the heat, the entire audience was transfixed from start to finish. Jen is a compelling performer with an incredibly smart comic mind. Clearly at home on stage, Jen is happy to interact with the audience, cracking out ad-libs plenty of comics would wish they had written.
During the show Jen gets frequent updates from Father Ted writer and self-appointed lesbian defender Graham Linehan’s blog, who recently upended his career to spend his time criticising the trans community, specifically trans women. (Obviously, this is just a show device but, rather hilariously, at the end of the night Linehan genuinely does post another blog about Jen.) It’s silly but it demonstrates how, while most performers have anxiety about getting bad reviews criticising their comedy, Jen constantly gets reviews criticising her very existence.
Jen could so easily have taken this opportunity to smuggle a TED Talk into her show about the treatment she receives from the Gender Critical community but instead decides to focus on more frivolous issues such as going home with a date who turns out to have otter patterned bedsheets.
While not the slickest show at the Fringe, Peak Trans encapsulates what a Fringe show should be. It is irreverent, ridiculous, pushes boundaries and, most importantly, is funny.
Jen Ives: Peak Trans is at the Gilded Balloon, Patter Hoose at 19:00 until 28th August. For tickets visit EdFringe.com.