Freckled

Even though the venue is a gay bar, the performer is a drag act and that act is a previous winner of the coveted national Drag Idol crown, Freckled isn’t a drag cabaret.

If nothing else you will leave the show rooting for Tutu. Much Tutu love.

No stranger to the drag circuit across the UK, Son of a Tutu’s regular show plays on her Nigerian roots as an illegal immigrant with one eye on the door in case the Border Agency are paying a visit. In Freckled, her Edinburgh show, Tutu turns this on its head with a scripted look at British multiculturalism. In particular Tutu raises questions about our colonialist past and the pockets of intolerance in our present.

Opening at the Lagos Airport send-off for Tutu on her flight to Heathrow – full of hopes and dreams, the show mixes dialogue and familiar tunes with lyrics replaced by her own parodies to advance the plot. Video projected behind Tutu adds extra members of her cast and (rather impressive) pop reels; Sleet, Snow and Sunshine (a take on Walking on Sunshine) is a particularly high-production example.

There’s a story arc here which sometimes gets distracted by tangents. The big smiles and infectious laugh of Tutu belie the bigotry she has had to deal with and Tutu has a lot to get off her ample bosom. Jumping around issues such as the N-word, Nigerian credit card scammers, racists in their many forms and even Oscar Pistorius, Tutu is clearly angry about these issues, even if the script and lyrics sometimes let her down in expressing it.

Tutu is best when off-script though, as the occasional technical demands of running your own sound equipment force her to do. Years working in front of a pub full of rat-arsed punters in South London means Tutu can handle these hiccups arguably better than having to stick within the confines of dialogue that doesn’t always land with today’s quiet crowd.

Overall Tutu would probably benefit from the experience of a director to help her edit into a more logical form. With so much to say the message can get confused – but if nothing else you will leave the show rooting for Tutu. Much Tutu love.

Reviews by Sue Denham

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★★★★★
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★★★★★
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★★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

What is white and what is black? What is right and what is not? Freckled, a brand new 'one woman' show by the award-winning Son of a Tutu, chronicles Miss Tutu's search for the elusive multicultural nirvana that she had dreamt of back in her village in Nigeria.

It takes us from her shaky start when she first set foot on British soil; all thoughts of a melting pot have evaporated and she is left consumed by a simmering cauldron of conflict that threatens to make her gele explode. Yet she will not retreat, has a fro agenda and lets you in on it all in Freckled. Is she right or is she not, you decide.