EdFringe 2019 Review: IvankaPlay

IvankaPlay Rating: ★★★★
Venue: Underbelly Cowgate


Charles Gershman writes IvankaPlay – a sharp, satirical piece exploring the failures of Trump administration, told from the perspective of his daughter. Rachel Dart directs this piece with McLean Peterson delivering a standout comic, yet critical turn as First Daughter and presidential advisor Ivanka Trump.

Emerging onto the stage at Underbelly’s Cowgate venue, Ivanka stands atop a Stars & Stripes flag that uses the sharp bright colours of a set of highlighters capturing the distorted ideology that currently courses throughout the USA. Ivanka tells us she is waiting on her father as she recounts her childhood and thoughts on the political climate of the nation.

This theme of waiting becomes something that is prescient throughout IvankaPlay. Whilst McLean Peterson captures the privileged attitude and capitalistic hunger of Ivanka , it is a performance of depth and complexity with more than simply a good handle on Ivanka’s mannerisms. Ivanka is waiting throughout the play for her father to show a sense of compassion on the issues facing the US on gun-control and border camps, and IvankaPlay explores these concepts through her eyes – and whilst she notes she is not the most empathetic person, still manages to invoke a conscience on these issues.

Yet Ivanka waits and her father’s refusal to act on these issues becomes a recurring theme. McLean’s skilled performance captures Ivanka’s growing frustration at his failure to act. This mounting tension and anger segways into Ivanka’s memories from her past and growing up as the pretty face of the Trump family like a fancy piece of jewellery her father can show off.

As the sole performer on stage, Peterson is excellent. She commands our attention and under the sharp direction of Dart manages to deliver Gershman’s impressive satirical narrative. IvankaPlay tackles the failure of the US’s current political administration with bite and captures the sense of frustration felt amongst much of the world towards this global power – cleverly using Ivanka as the vessel with which to do this.

Photograph: Gokce Pehlivanoglu

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