Jen Ives: Peak Trans | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review
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Jen Ives: Peak Trans

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

Jen Ives opens her show with an explosive burst of energy that takes the audience by surprise, setting the mood for an unpredictable and at times wildly entertaining hour. Ives is a fearless performer, keeping the audience on their toes and constantly changing the vibe and dynamic of the show.

The opening moments also allow her to make a sharp point about the ever-changing rules and laws affecting trans women. We get a glimpse into Ives’s upbringing and her relationship with her father, with the London Dungeon making an unexpected narrative appearance. 

The spectre of Graham Linehan, the Father Ted writer and scourge of the trans community, looms large over this show. He and Ives crossed paths at the LGB Alliance conference last year, and he has regularly attacked her on his blog, some of which are read verbatim to the audience. 

Ives jokes about the ‘good old days’ before the base and basic way trans women are treated in the culture wars. A throwaway line suggests she is tired of discussing gender critical beliefs, but feels an expectation on her to do so. Ives worries that the comedy industry isn’t as progressive as her previous workplace, but that story takes a further twist.

Sections of Peak Trans still feel like work in progress, and the show is far from slick, but this doesn’t make it any less engaging. Ives talks to the audience throughout, asking questions, testing attitudes and asking sometimes awkward questions – for example about porn preferences – acting as a segue into the next section that enables her to share more of her own experiences.

There’s a quick routine about JK Rowling – again taken in an unexpected direction due to the Harry Potter tattoos sported by Ives’ flatmate. And then the show’s unforgettable finale manages to say everything at once through an outrageous piece of physical comedy that ensures she has the last laugh.

• Jen Ives: Peak Trans is on at Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose at 7pm.

Review date: 24 Aug 2022
Reviewed by: Matt Carwardine-Palmer
Reviewed at: Gilded Balloon Patter House

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