Girl In Da Corner

Laughing Horse @ The Cellar Monkey
Aug 3-27 (13.15)

Material: four-stars.png Delivery: five-stars.png Laughs: three-stars.png

Running through the rain to make it to Jen Wakefield’s Girl In Da Corner, I thought I was going to a standard comedy show. What I found was a truly intelligent art performance which taught me about the experience of being a mixed race person in Britain, 2017. Between tossing out the Grime Outreach program & uncannily natural Indian accents (well, she is half-Indian) her show was completely fun, like flipping through channels on TV; the main character, who is like the host of all of these channels, was the wide-eyed, open-hearted Natasha G-Storm Flex. Through this particular avatar, Jen performs some original Grime songs, whose snazzy couplets are packed full of meaning and melody performed with the startling vivacity of her youth. Through all the characters she presents we see the pressure exerted by society to be ‘normal;’ Jen easily shows that it is best to be ourselves, but it is hard to be yourself when people are constantly asking you why you look different. She is a smart cookie, culturally verteux, a fan of both the Arctic Monkeys & Steely Dan, & one cannot help but notice her intelligence blossoming into a dogmatic sense of humor. In a recent interview with The Mumble, Jen talks about her show as being;
A character comedy show about identity and explores the mixed-race experience that I’ve had. I wrote an article titled Sorry, you’re label has expired about growing up identifying as Anglo-Indian and found it was met with a greater response than expected. Lots of people contacted me to share their similar experiences, so I thought it might be a topical piece to explore in a show, and I hope there might be other people who can identify with the content or it may spark a conversation.

Jen made me question my place of privilege in society, being a white male. While I consider myself to be a very strange person, I am lucky to be able to hide my strangeness behind the body I was born into and which no-one questions as being outside the ordinary. The show gave me empathy for what Jen and other people of mixed race truly experience in life. Jen, a self-confessed ‘jack of all races  master of none,’ makes a good connection with the audience, her singing and overall performance skills are elegantly cool and the content of the show is rich in important thoughts about identity. Here in Edinburgh, a lot of the natives are comfortable in their cultural awareness – they visit the Mela once a year, for example – but 45 minutes with Jen Wakefield gives us a direct hotline into the mixed maelstrom that is the global planet, & is worth perhaps a decade’s worth of Melas.

Reviewer : Michael Beeson



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