Edinburgh Fringe 2019
Too Pretty To Punch
Venue: Zoo Southside
Festival: Edinburgh Fringe
Too Pretty To Punch is an exploration of one person’s transgender journey through a unique mix of spoken word, live music, audience participation and interactive projections.
Too Pretty To Punch is a hard show to define. In it, performer Edalia Day shares their transgender journey with a mix of spoken word, live music, audience participation and interactive projections.
It is a compelling performance. ‘Physically trained’ in Le Coq, Day moves like a (lanky) dancer, weaving their legs and arms across the stage.
Day weaves words too, just the right amount of spoken word style and rhyme without becoming too rhythmic, too predictable…. There are some delicious images and one-liners. It’s clever stuff. Yet Day doesn’t take themself too seriously, nor do they lecture us. This feels like a safe space for the audience.
We are treated to singing and banjo playing as well. One introduction describes Day’s melancholic whistling with a hint of banjo as being like a “transgender Pete Seeger”. The subtler songs are perhaps more successful than the belters, and the sound quality in the space was sometimes challenging, but the music is a tasty layer in the show’s cake.
The icing might be the incredible projections, mapped with precision and often interacted with by Day. At times they combined to look like one of those lovely old live action/animated films. The effect certainly rivalled the versions created by companies with much larger budgets than this.
But in the end it is Day themself who is most watchable – a unique performer whose charm and courage outweigh the few wrinkles in the production.
Day is funny and entertaining, but vulnerable too. There is a serious message here: about discrimination and constraints; about tolerance and compassion – including towards ourselves. The finale includes a cento created from lines from poems by 15 transgender and/or non-binary poets. Coupled with video clips, it makes for a moving conclusion.
Day deserves a larger audience. Even if this doesn’t sound like your cup of tea I urge you to give it a go. It is a unique and heartwarming show that doesn’t disappoint.
Too Pretty To Punch is at Zoo Southside at 1.25 pm until 26 August