IvankaPlay review the Trumps are no laughing matter in limp comedy

Despite a solid solo performance from McLean Peterson, theres little funny about the presidents refusal to act on gun control

Is Trump not yet beyond satire? This limp comedy about the presidents refusal to act on gun control is told from the perspective of his daughter. Despite a perfectly solid solo performance, theres little funny here. The putrid new wave of shootings only serves to highlight the plays inability to carve any real wit around the issue.

It is not McLean Petersons fault. Under Rachel Darts precise direction, she is sharp as Ivanka, fluent at the flicks between icy glares seeming like she might strip the skin off your face if she thought it would improve her complexion and succulent smiles. Immaculately dressed in a cape dress, she waits for daddy to come out of a meeting in the Oval Office. Playing with a strand of hair, her words are doused in the arrogance imbued by being Trumps favourite. She is largely constrained but her patience wanes, and she occasionally unzips her skinsuit to let out some anger or lust. I even like that hed fuck me if he could, she says about her father in a huff. Pause. Dismissive hand wave. He couldnt. Charles Gershmans script dips tentatively into the struggle between Ivankas role as daughter and adviser, and when she sees a news bulletin about children separated at the border, she attempts mediation. Maybe we should care about this one, she says sweetly. He says no he needs the vote and placates her with money and attention.


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Sharp … McLean Peterson in IvankaPlay. Photograph: Gokce Pehlivanoglu

The talk of gun control is vague and generic, with all the humour relying desperately on knowing chuckles. The moment that most acutely gets to Trumps lack of care is in Ivankas description of him not letting her win at tennis. However snobbish and vacuous she is, the play wants us to be on her side. But to what end? Are we meant to feel sorry for her? Find her inaction excusable while shes on her fathers payroll? Laugh it all off? When the news comes on again, she flicks over to another channel. If only you could do the same with theatre.

At Underbelly Cowgate, Edinburgh, until 25 August.

Read all our Edinburgh festival reviews

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