Very funny, mostly true cabaret-style survival guide to an unbelievably mad life in Canada’s frozen north

Canadian born Jennifer Irons is an award-winning choreographer. She choreographed a number 1 hit single for Olly Murs and Rizzle Kicks, was Mass Movement Director for Akram Khan Company’s Kadamati at the 2018 Edinburgh International Festival and was Assistant Artistic Director for the Rugby League World Cup. She was once charged with teaching Boris Johnson to dance…

Now Jen is bringing her first comedy dance theatre show, to the Edinburgh Fringe, and it’s all based on her life growing up in one of the coldest and most isolated places on the planet.

Yukon Territory, Northern Canada is where North America’s coldest temperature ever (-631 degrees Celsius) was recorded. It’s where there are more caribou than people, tossing chainsaws is entertainment, barbecued squirrel is food and Saturday evenings spent at the garbage dump watching bears foraging for food is a big night out.

Men are men who compete to prove their masculinity by winning the bushiest beard contest and women enter hairy leg

But it’s not all sophisticated fun. It’s also a genuinely challenging place to live, where escape is difficult and where many people die tragically young as a result of accidents and the harsh Arctic winters. It’s where Jennifer Irons was born and raised, dreaming of leaving.

Growing up in a tough, isolated mining town with little prospect of reaching ‘the Outside’, Jennifer found release through performance. Specifically, it came via the unlikely circumstance of dancing the Can-Can to an audience of drunken miners in a
casino in Dawson City who threw poker chips at her. Her passion for dance subsequently led to an extraordinary journey out of the Yukon, and around the world.

Jennifer said, ‘If it wasn’t for dance, I’d have probably ended up pregnant, an addict or dead. However tough it is growing up – whether it’s in the Arctic or the city—the arts will always be a salvation. It’s a shame more governments don’t realise this. I mean, who would have ever thought doing high kicks for drunken miners would have got me to Edinburgh? …Though drunken miners are still very welcome!’

In Yukon Ho! (Tales from the Great White North), in character as ‘Intrepid Jen’, she tells the story of survival, escape and
an eventual reconciliation through reconnection with her homeland.  The show is dark, fearless, original, bizarre and very, very funny. Expect to laugh, holler, quaff very questionable cocktails and learn how to be Bear Aware. And it’s all (mostly) true…

Venue: Summerhall, Upper Church, Venue 26

Dates: 2 – 25 Aug (not 5, 12, 19 Aug) First
review date 2 August

Times: 17.50 2 – 11 Aug; 17.30 13 – 25 Aug (55 mins)