Titania McGrath: Mxnifesto
- Brian Donaldson
- 19 August 2019
A mixed bag of messages in a well-acted but empty satirical assault
The Fringe tends to get it in the neck from all sides: it's not diverse enough and there are very few opinions expressed that aren't openly hostile to those on the right. Some small strides are being made to change those situations this year, and when it comes to anti-left voices being heard on the comedy stage, at least, there are a number of acts who can no longer say that the Fringe is a 100% echo chamber of liberal democracy.
Andrew Doyle's Titania McGrath: Mxnifesto is stridently leading the way on shows that have gained coverage for being outwardly hostile to political correctness (though often PC is lumped together as one homogenous mass taking in everything from basic human decency to the more outlandish fringes). Initially the spoof Twitter account, weighted heavily towards the latter, of the kind of individual you're unlikely to have ever encountered, Titania is made flesh in the form of Alice Marshall, a comic actress who has previously been in Edinburgh donning various character guises.
As Marshall admits herself, she's never appeared in anything quite so contentious ('it's not for everyone', she states at the end to a two-thirds full room in a plea for word-of-mouth to help sales) and the reviews have predictably run the gamut of every available star rating. The truth about the show's qualities, as is often the case, lie somewhere in between.
In the thumbs-up corner lies some supremely bad social-justice poetry while the visual gag about a vast array of new pronouns lands awkwardly. No one can surely take a statement such as 'whiteness is rape' seriously while, rather confusingly, the introductory footage of BoJo and Trump looking bad alongside a pounding 'nothing to fear' slogan initially makes it unclear what kind of position the show or the audience is supposed to take.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 25 Aug, 9.10pm, £10–£14 (£9–£13).