Too Pretty to Punch
- Gareth K Vile
- 14 August 2019
This article is from 2019
Banjo-fuelled poetry cycle
Edalia Day has a charismatic presence, a lively wit and a way with the banjo that takes this collection of poetic episodes and transforms them into a broad commentary on contemporary gender politics and sexuality identity. Despite the references to dodging bullets – which references The Matrix, a touchstone for trans artists – Day isn't declaring war on the ignorant, preferring sardonic humour and eloquent self-assertion.
The polemical message – of toleration and the details of diversity – are hidden by Day's grace and self-deprecation. More serious internal anxieties about appearance and how Day is observed and treated add a harsher edge to some of the poems, but the production operates as a highly effective and personal introduction to both the range of identities on the non-dualistic spectrum and the experiences that Day negotiates in relation to their own identity. While some of the songs don't always land, there is a sensitive, thoughtful intelligence informing the lyrics, and the satirical pokes at fashion, the boxes of male and female, and wilfully ignorant opinion have a taut, feminist edge.
Day's non-confrontational but smart and independent approach to one of the most dynamic contemporary conversations feels timely and sensitive: provocative in a gentle way, but unafraid of standing up for what is right, Too Pretty to Punch is an important contribution to public debate.
ZOO Southside, until 26 Aug (not 14), 1.25pm, £10 (£9).