1 Last Dance With My Father

★★★★
comedy review | Read in About 2 minutes
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1 Last Dance With My Father
Published 07 Aug 2016

Njambi McGrath has been through some testing times, of which this current Fringe is doubtless the latest. Espionage's Kasbar Room is hardly suited to her harrowing new piece of confessional comedy, but she approaches performance with the same tenacity shown throughout her life, confidently withstanding apathetic audience members and the occasional disruption.

A Kenyan now settled in London, McGrath offers a deeply personal account of her relationship with an abusive father, maintaining a disarmingly light tone even as she catalogues the brutalities she once endured. This is a story of survival, understanding and forgiveness, yet for all its autobiographical detail, the show is an outward looking affair. It condemns western imperialism and challenges our perceptions of Africa and its people.

McGrath mines her own experience to address broad issues such as human rights and oppression. She reminds us that colonial powers have never attoned for the bleak situations imposed upon foreign nations, and addresses the Brexit vote from the perspective of an assimilated outsider.

For all her serious pointmaking, McGrath's performence displays a breezy, silly streak. A routine criticising Malala Yousafzai raises some valid points, but ultimately sates an apparently compulsive desire to cross lines and tip sacred cows.