Sunday, February 20, 2011

G'Osho, it's Andi! - Andi Osho review

IT would be interesting to know what comedian Andi Osho thinks of David Cameron’s remarks that multiculturalism has failed, as it was a concept that was thrust on her in its most brutal form when, aged eight, she was called a “nig-nog” by other children. Before then she had not viewed herself as any different from other children in her then predominantly white area of London’s East End.

Osho’s show AfroBlighty explored her relationship with her Nigerian background since that moment, from anglicising her name from Yewande to learning to celebrate her family’s culture, concluding that although her ethnicity didn’t solely define her, it was an important part of who she was - and that political correctness in its most effective form was nothing more complicated than “being nice” to each other.

Lots of food for thought there, but Osho presented much of it in a light-hearted manner, mixing it up with more generic memories from childhood, such as silly noise competitions with her siblings (“if you didn’t do that when you were a kid, you must have had toys”). 

However, the show gave an interesting insight to growing up as a black child in a mainly white area, such as the fact that rather than sticking together, there were tensions at her school between the West Indian kids and those from African families. These were probably not helped by some of the older generation, such as Osho’s own uncle, describing those from the West Indies as “slaves” - mind you, he was also convinced that Obi-Wan Kenobi must be Nigerian with a name like that, so being well informed was clearly not his strong point.

Osho rounded off her set with an unexpected and strong spoken word poem regarding her thoughts on multi-culturalism and diversity in Britain today. It proved that when she played to the strength of her convictions, Osho could really come up with some thought-provoking material, and insights which David Cameron himself could learn from. However, while her friendly interplay with the audience which warmed up the first half was pleasant enough - if a little predictable, and partly saved only by an audience member nearly as quick-witted as her - the more interesting stuff was too interspersed to really make the impact it deserved.