HomeArtsEdinburgh Festival Fringe 2018 - Bethany Black: Unwinnable review

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018 – Bethany Black: Unwinnable review

Bethany Black may have called the show Unwinnable but, if you’re looking for a consistent laughter count this Fringe, you’re onto a winner here. Serving up a mix of observational comedy and deeply personal anecdotes to tickle your funny bone, Black reveals that she’s had some big news this year. She was diagnosed with autism, ADHD and agoraphobia, and Bethany quickly tells us not to worry; ‘This isn’t going to be one of those shows where there’s 40 minutes of build up, 10 minutes of comedy and a mawkish ending’. Keeping her promise, she spends only a brief part of her bulging set list examining what the news means to her. ‘I always thought I’m a loveable fuck up, now I’m a terrible burden,’ she reflects with a smirk. She always knew deep down that she was different and Bethany’s knowing self-deprecating humour means no-one’s more critical of her actions than herself (except, of course, her mother).

2018 has also seen Bethany added to a national newspaper’s list of celebrities ‘flying the flag for the LGBT community and consider her a role model’. It’s great but a long overdue acknowledgement, surely? Bethany happens to be a lesbian who’s been working the club circuit for nearly fifteen years, and has openly discussed the fact that she’s transgender in previous years. In Unwinnable, it’s barely a footnote. Rightly so, Bethany doesn’t feel she needs to keep explaining and sums up her perspective succinctly with the response, ‘I was born a baby, not born a man.’

Bethany isn’t interested in relentlessly flogging one theme for an hour. Although she blames her ADHD for jumping between topics, I’d say it’s because she’s a seasoned club comic with an ‘all killer no filler’ approach to stand-up. Powering through issues such as white privilege, terrorism, Incels (involuntarily celibate angry men), and TERFs (Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists) Bethany’s material comes in bite-size chunks. Most of which you’d welcome her spending even longer discussing except, perhaps, when she conjures up an image of her performing oral sex that’ll stay with you (I salute you for that gag, Bethany). Pausing to point out that the subject and target of a joke are very different things, Bethany believes we should be able to take the mickey out of anything. Bethany isn’t afraid to try, she isn’t bothered what anyone thinks. She’s just ‘doing this to impress her dad.’ Using humour has always been her way of dealing with the world around her and long may she continue.

Title: Bethany Black: Unwinnable Venue: The Stand 2, Edinburgh EH2 1HJ Dates: 3rd – 26th August 2018 Time: 3.50pm Tickets: www.edfringe.com

Angela Johnson
Angela Johnson
Angela is Theatre Editor at Entertainment Focus. A journalist and writer, she's a 'plastic' scouser now living in London. She loves absorbing all 'the arts' the capital has to offer, especially live comedy.

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