1 Last Dance With My Father

Njambi McGrath’s 1 Last Dance With My Father sells itself as a dark comedy telling the story of her Kenyan upbringing and her violent relationship with her father. However the central story of the father-daughter relationship only really comes into its own in the final fifteen minutes, winding up a set that is primarily a collection of stand-alone jokes. The titular figure of her father flits in and out as one of a series of miscellaneous dark observations; ranging from comparing force-fed prisoners with foie gras, to describing the Mao Mao uprising as the London Riots, only with an actual sense of entitlement.

May not be the world’s strongest stand-up comedian, but her frank account of a childhood worlds away from the liberal atmosphere of the Fringe is definitely worth the hour-long investment.

Perhaps the awkward landing of many of these jokes (often edging too far into the dark to be truly comic) is deliberately intended to disquiet a primarily white, middle-class audience. Following her first mention of the uprising and British imperialism, McGrath goes on to ask for the British percentile of her audience, answering the one hundred percent hands in the air with a well-timed ‘Oh shit’ to temporarily defuse the elephant in the room. However, overall, the majority of the awkward titters often felt as if they were the result of fine-tuning the comic pitch during the early stages of the Fringe.

Nevertheless, McGrath is a consistently engaging speaker, and when she does segue into her actual story, it makes for a compelling home run. The small espionage space is crammed with seats, with audience members balancing elbows on the bar, and McGrath’s warm persona utilises this make-shift intimacy, drawing attention to the absence of a proper tannoy system as she announces her run up to the stage from the back of the room.

As part of the Free Fringe, McGrath may not be the world’s strongest stand-up comedian, but her frank account of a childhood worlds away from the liberal atmosphere of the Fringe is definitely worth the hour-long investment. 

Reviews by Aoife Kennan

Paradise in The Vault

Canon Warriors

★★★
Laughing Horse @ Espionage

1 Last Dance With My Father

★★★

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Njambi McGrath returns to the Fringe with a roller coaster hour of dark comedy guaranteed to make you laugh and cry. Having survived a beating that nearly killed her, Njambi McGrath is forced to confront the perpetrator, her father, for answers when their paths unexpectedly cross again. His long standing dual with her mother is bound to come head to head at her brother's wedding, with her mother’s long-standing promise to perform an unspeakable act, which guarantees quite a wedding. When he finally agrees to meet her he does the craziest thing.

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