****1/2 (out of 5)
Sometimes it’s best to just take a recommendation from a Fringe performer and see someone else’s show sight unseen, without looking up any of the program descriptions, interviews or previous reviews.
That’s how I found myself in The Box late Thursday night, discovering Jordan Gray for the first time. All I knew going in was that she did musical comedy.
I didn’t know that Gray broke through the UK’s pop-cultural consciousness in 2016 by competing on The Voice UK, making it to the semifinals in her season. I also didn’t know she was trans. You likely knew both of those things, so what can I tell you, what should I tell you, that’ll still allow you the opportunity to enjoy discovering Gray for yourselves?
She holds absolutely nothing back. And she revealed to me after Thursday’s performance that she’s only just now figuring it all out herself, having run individual pieces of the show in comedy clubs, but never before stitching it all together into a coherent hour. The title of her show pays homage to an opening line for the most classic of superheroes, but before fully flying as a bird, Gray has plenty to say about bats and dogs, too. In doing so, she can point out the real hypocrisy of bigotry and transphobia. It’s one thing for us all to know that Hitler loved his dog while hating all Jews. It’s quite another to think of our neighbors or ourselves identifying pets as family members and dressing them up as such.
Aaron Simmonds (who has his own show at the Fringe) witnessed the same performance I did and wrote: “Go see her show before she’s a superstar. Imagine a mix between Russell Brand and Tim Minchin but with better tits.”
Could I say it better myself? How about this: Not all heroes wear capes. Jordan Gray is a superhero who needs no costume at all.
Jordan Gray: Is It a Bird? through Aug. 28, 2022, at Assembly George Square (The Box).