Greenside (Venue 236), Edinburgh
Until 25 August 2018
Ink Asher Hemp (they/them) is trans nonbinary. They are taking up space and they are not apologising in this one-person show with a bit of spoken word that overviews trans and queer issues.
They introduce themselves as Ash, a person with a gentle, slightly apologetic demeanour that is still grounded in confidence. There’s no particular story that emerges, but a set of experiences does. Though cishet people should do the work to educate themselves about trans issues, Ash is here to help anyway. We hear about their childhood and coming out, and a sprinkling of facts and statistics about life as a trans person. There’s also a nod to the divisive toilet issue, and the risks that come with choosing a binary toilet as a non-binary person. It’s a necessary perspective often ignored by the media.
Video sequences help break up their monologue that needs further dramaturgical shaping and support. The script is a collage of anecdotes and feelings that, whilst effectively engaging with the audience, lacks specificity. The language used is emotive and often imagery-laden, helping to counter the rather rambling text.
Hemp is a quietly charming performer who clearly has a lot of stories to share, but this script doesn’t fully serve them. Whilst not totally baffling, it scraped the surface rather than engaging with the audience and lived experience more fully.