Bethany Black – Unwinnable. The Stand Comedy Club 2, Edinburgh fringe. Aug 5-12, 14-26 15.50. Adult.
Bethany Black has all the labels and appellations and she fucking well uses them in her Fringe show, Unwinnable: lesbian, trans, autistic, OCD, ADHD, alcoholic (did she say that?), agoraphobia. You name them. With her slick black Hitler hair (that’s her own joke), Manchester accent and cute smile, she rambles away most professionally, topics tripping off her tongue as she has been wont to do for the past 16 years.
She is like an experienced therapist: she does not hide her habits or mistakes (if there are such things in stand-up), she smoothly acknowledges them, gets an appropriate laugh and moves on. Not that she wears her heart on her sleeve exactly, although she sort of does, but she has her play-list on the back of her hand.
As if those personal themes weren’t enough material for an hour’s show, she tackles racism, Danish airport security which was ultimately unsecure for her (and I sincerely hope she reported him to the police), on-line paedophiles, and having a father who’s not just an ex-blacksmith but also a Morris dancer.
Most importantly she rants intelligently about the everyday bigotry which she encounters: the cyber bullying, the boys on the street who have to “warm up like an old radio” before hurling abuse (aaaah…you…!), the ‘incels’, the anti-trans protesters at the front of the recent Pride March and much more. She is understandably angry and gets her point across loud and clear. With her proven track record, why shouldn’t she use her show as a soap-box? It’s her reality and most of us, her four-star audience, are symp- and empathetic.
At what turns out to be almost the last minute she stops mid story, checks the time and her notes, loops back to the beginning and neatly snaps off the routine on an up-note. Then the seriously loud music once again regales our ears (‘change must come through the barrel of a gun’ Mao Tse Tung Said by Alabama – was that Black’s choice?) and we’re off back out into the sunshine.