James Wilson-Taylor: Ginger is the New Black

James Wilson-Taylor has been discriminated against and enough is enough. Wilson-Taylor returns to the Fringe with his new musical comedy Ginger Is The New Black and won’t stop singing until something changes. Redheads, now is your time: stand up with James and tell the world your hair is just as hair as other hair.

Through a mixture of original songs, anecdotes from Wilson-Taylor and the audience, and plenty of jokes, we’re navigated through the ups and downs (mostly downs) about being ginger in an anti-ginger world

This show has a very clear narrative direction: it sucks to be a redhead and everyone needs to stop being mean. Gingers aren’t vampires, carrot tops are attractive, etcetera, etcetera. Wilson-Taylor dissects many of the myths and misconceptions surrounding the curse of ginger-ism, and vigorously explains why THEY’RE NOT TRUE (he shouts a fair bit, clearly very passionate on the subject). Through a mixture of original songs, anecdotes from Wilson-Taylor and the audience, and plenty of jokes, we’re navigated through the ups and downs (mostly downs) about being ginger in an anti-ginger world.

James is a dab-hand on an ukulele and piano and accompanies himself through the songs which illustrate the story throughout, while also ripping into almost every ginger celebrity going. It’s all great fun, and James is a wonderfully engaging and endearing performer. Despite his griping he never begins to feel like a moan, and his audience interaction – limited only to the gingers in the audience – adds another layer of funny as they bring their own material into the show.

Some of the jokes will feel a little repetitive, and the "gingers are people too’ angle is a little tired. The section comparing Katie Hopkins and Adolf Hitler’s similar views of the scum of ginger-ism is fairly hackneyed – does the world really need more Katie Hopkins jokes? Of course, the show has a very specific subject matter, but it did begin to feel repetitive. The saving grace were the songs, which were all brilliantly original and clever, and stopped the rest of the set from feeling like complete déjà vu. I admit the comparisons to ‘Black Lives Matter’ made me feel a little uncomfortable. The references didn’t seem to be cohesive to the rest of the fun and silly tone. It also shed a different potential meaning on the title which, intentional or not, is also perhaps awkward.

Overall, James Wilson-Taylor’s newest offering to the Fringe is great fun and taken as it is intended, lightly, is a great way to spend an hour. James is such a thrillingly fun guy you can’t help but chortle all the way through and come out humming the tunes. 

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Performances

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The Blurb

Join James Wilson-Taylor for a musical history of the redhead as he attempts to end the bullying and rebrand gingers for 2016. Can he make Ed Sheeran less boring? Can he turn Ron Weasley into a sex symbol? And why do people think he's a vampire? James is the writer and performer of Fringe comedy hits Batfan and I Need A Doctor: The Whosical. Other credits include Newsjack (BBC Radio 4 Extra) and the Musical Comedy Awards 2016 (semi-finalist).

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