Chloe Petts’ Transience is a tight hour of comedy that’s so polished, you’ll struggle to believe it’s her Fringe debut. Petts has a more comfortable stage presence and stronger sense of self than some comics who’ve been working the circuit for decades. So, who is Chloe Petts? The stand up thinks she may a middle-aged geezer in the body of a lesbian. A football lad who shopkeepers repeatedly misgender. Or, just a bloody funny comedian who will have you in stitches for an hour.
Her confidence means that she’s in control of the room, even if things threaten to get out of hand when she is briefly distracted by a couple of doppelgangers in the front row (who, it turns out, met in the queue and are unrelated). The show, directed by Rose Johnson, sees Petts at times deliver a strong message, but with a huge smile on her face. The hour covers everything from cosplaying femininity as a teenager, trying to build friendships with her fellow season ticket holders at her beloved Crystal Palace and where she feels she sits on the gender spectrum. And yes, the issue of toilets and people doing double-takes when she enters the ladies does get discussed.
Petts hopes that she can benefit from male privilege by playing with gender stereotypes but it doesn’t always work to her advantage. Whenever she thinks she’s got her identity sewn up, and she’s living the life of ‘the man I always wanted to be’ an encounter will try to derail that. The stand up has a silly and often self-deprecating style that endears her to the audience, who are enthralled by the storytelling. It’s a show that addresses meaty issues but never feels preachy or moralising. This isn’t a party political broadcast, just a solid hour of good laughs.