Review: Bethany Black – Unwinnable

★★★★
comedy review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 08 Aug 2018
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Bethany Black

When did Bethany Black become one of the most interesting acts on the circuit? Recently diagnosed with agoraphobia, it's possible the comedian's observational powers have risen inverse to her ability to easily observe things. Or it may be the case that the more diagnoses she racks up, the shrewder her understanding of herself and the world around her. Either way, she's approaching comedy from a unique perspective and audiences are starting to take notice. Even The Sun newspaper put its prejudices aside to recommend the trans malcontent as one of the must-see performers at this year's Fringe.

Unwinnable's greatest strength is that it feels effortlessly coherent. Black doesn't lay out a theme and then slavishly stick to it, but discusses topics relating to identity and mental illness in a flowing, conversational fashion.

One of the stand-out set pieces of this show is based on an event that took place little over a week ago. Black has the skill to readily incorporate up-to-date material into her act, and one gets the impression she would feel compelled to drop any routine which no longer resonated with her. With thousands of starry-eyed hopefuls flocking to Edinburgh in pursuit of fame, it's a relief to come across something so unaffected and full of integrity as Unwinnable.