Njambi McGrath is Bongolicious
Star rating: **
The Attic in the Mash House. Venue 288
Just the Tonic
Hasties Close, 37 Guthrie Street, Edinburgh EH1 1JG
31 July – 24 August 2014. 5pm. £FREE (Donations welcome). 1 hour.
Initially it was hard to fathom out exactly what this show was aiming to do. Was it comedy or history lesson? Ten minutes or so in, it all begins to become much clearer, for what starts out as a fairly traditional stand up comedy routine with Njambi gaining laughter for her jokes about Kenya, immigration, running, fine and various stereotypes people in Britain have about Africa, slides into a story about a brutal and tragic loss of 1,000’s of Kenyan lives.
Njambi delivers a moving and very harrowing account of the previously “untold atrocities against her family during the state of emergency in Kenya at the end of British rule.” This was passionately and evocatively acted.
This may seem and indeed is of course insignificant considering the subject matter, but a few things jarred. Her flowy white dress with black trainers were an ill-fitting combination, didn’t seem right for the show and were a distraction. Additionally, I was expecting more of a traditional stand up comedy show since was it was listed in the comedy section of the Edinburgh Fringe brochure, plus the title and flyer gave the image of a jolly good comedy show, yet what was delivered was more a lecture on Kenyan history. So to that extent it was a little misleading and not what I expected.
It certainly was not your typical Fringe fare, but the fringe can be many things and to those interested in such matters this made for a deeply personal, educational and enlightening performance.
© Tiemo Talk of the Town
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