Too Pretty to Punch (4 stars)

Too Pretty to Punch

credit: Elmar Rubio

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).

Too Pretty to Punch

  • 4 stars

Edalia Day A comedy spoken word show about gender, the media and not fitting any of the boxes, full of explosive movement, original songs and kickass video projection. Edalia Day is a banjo-wielding, poetry-slam-winning, trans warrior, taking on the world one troll at a time. Too Pretty to Punch is a hilarious…

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