"Two of my suicide attempts were absolutely, hilariously bad," laughs Bethany Black. "I failed spectacularly. One of them even extended my life expectancy."

The charming Black is not your typical stand-up. Regularly billed as "Britain's only goth, lesbian, transexual comedian", she quickly points out she must be the only one in the world.

Her new show, Beth Becomes Her, tells of her journey from nervous breakdowns and suicidal depression through to coming out to her friends and family, before eventually having gender reassignment surgery.

The show has been warmly received since being unveiled in Manchester last October, picking up a nomination for the best debut prize at this year's Leicester Comedy Festival.

"It's a fun show. It's uplifting. But I've still been shocked by how much people have taken it to heart," she says. "In the first 20 minutes, I manage to get people to laugh at those subjects in a way they never thought they would do.

"It's odd, as I can't do that Peter Kaye-style observational material, because no one else has had these observations. I can't really get up on stage and say, I'll tell you what you don't see any more - urinals.' It's just me on that one."

Black had harboured the ambition to become a comedian since her childhood, but was held back by the mistaken belief you had to be in your 30s before you would be accepted as a stand-up.

Inspired by seeing someone younger than her, Josie Long, win a BBC new talent contest with material similar to her own, she finally made her bow at the age of 25, enduring a baptism of fire as compere at a rock night in Preston.

"They weren't the nicest of audiences. I basically learnt how to dodge bottles of p**s and make people take notice very quickly," she says. "But it did stand me in good stead for later on, because once you've faced crowds like that, you can pretty much deal with anything."

Black resisted incorporating many aspects of her life story into her act for a long time, afraid of how audiences might react after noticing that "making people think too hard can sometimes make them angry".

She has been pleasantly surprised to discover "95% of them really don't care about any of that". One audience member at the debut performance of Beth Becomes Her was particularly touched by the candour of Black's story - and has since become her girlfriend.

"I talk about how much that means to me," she explains. "It now provides the end of the show, so it's come full circle."

  • 6.30pm, £5, 01273 647100