Review: Jodie Mitchell: Becoming John Travulva

A debut that revels in subverting the signs and signifiers of modern life

comedy review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Jodie Mitchell
Photo by Corinne Cumming
Published 21 Aug 2023

You want to know what a drag king is? Head to Jodie Mitchell’s show at the Pleasance Courtyard and they’ll explain it to you… and again, and again. The last time as funny as the first. 

Mitchell’s stand-up revels in subverting the signs and signifiers of modern life. Aside from their vignettes on drag artistry, they also explore class consciousness, gender in the comedy circuit and also religion. They do this through employing the use of their drag king identity John Travulva; a bearded, husky Scottish guy dressed in black and adorned with the most diamantes on a sporran Edinburgh has ever seen. John’s take on masculinity is one only a drag king could have – a trip to the barbers and a badly received performance makes for huge laughs especially from John’s smooth purrs. 

Halfway through the performance, John dedrags to become Jodie and ideas of gender and class are brought into laser focus. The audience is forced to reckon with how they perceived John against how they perceive Jodie. The section with Jodie keeps the energy up but in a franker manner, it's an impressive switch the comedian is able to make. While some of the jokes don’t land quite as well and one story about an unwelcome visitor to Jodie’s apartment could be shorter, Mitchell bounces well off the audience and their range in both material and performance is a joy to watch.