- Adam Bloodworth
- 6 August 2019
Hauntingly precise and deftly creative Trump satire
One criticism of the Fringe is that it relies too heavily on the zeitgeist of the time. Fringe naysayers might argue that we hardly need another show about Trump (after all, there are five others in this year's programme already). And while it's understandable to fear that a show about his daughter may be a crass addition to the Trump Fringe 2019 catalogue, IvankaPlay – by New York theatre company Snowy Owl – is actually an inspiring and unusual take on the Trump era.
The show creates a beguiling alternative universe for Ivanka Trump, deftly presenting her as both the familiar supporter of daddy's politics we know her to be in real life, as well as a social justice warrior behind the scenes, kept awake at night by the faults of her father's presidential decisions.
We're given a fascinating, as well as a hilarious, look at a day in the life of Ivanka as she waits – much like the characters in Beckett's Waiting for Godot – endlessly for her father to meet her during a gap in his never-ending schedule at the White House. US actress McLean Peterson looks startlingly like Ivanka, dressed in an orange business suit as Rachel Dart's staging plunges her in and out of versatile mood lighting that's as dramatic as a scene change on Trump's version of The Apprentice.
It's all held together brilliantly by Charles Gershman's lush, detail-packed script, which is at its most affecting when it addresses the fictitious (or are they?) desires of Ivanka to confront her daddy about climate change and his approach to migrants.
Over an hour-long monologue, Peterson delivers a tirelessly committed performance, mimicking Trump's daughter's mannerisms and tonation in a way that is impressively creepy. She may as well actually be on stage: this show may have seemed narrow in outlook, but it feels expansive and constantly rich.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 25 Aug (not 14), 1.50pm, £9.50–£10.50 (£8.50–£9.50).