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Published On: Fri, Aug 18th, 2017 at 4:53pm

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017 – Half Breed*****

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Jazmin is the only black in the village – but not ‘proper black’.    When people ask where she’s from, she was born in Wiltshire, but when they ask where she’s “originally” from, she lets slip her father was Kenyan.    She is the “epitome of mixed up”.  When the slur is finally voiced in the village pub, it’s half-breed.

Jazmin is trying so hard to fit in, she laughs at racist jokes.   Her best friends are her Gran, who has secretly arranged an audition at a London drama school, and Brogan, whose wide-mouthed warning against London’s many perils is a delicious opener.

We’re in the West Country, or maybe Wales, because there’s a Dylan Thomas flavour to this sweetly sweeping, multi-charactered,  poetic drama.  It’s harrowing, heart-breaking  but frequently frankly funny in its insight into human weakness, and ugliness.   This is a tour-de-force performance stuffed with life, where Natasha Marshall deftly and noisily separates the multiple personalities of the piece; Jazmin and her friend “Brogue”, the bullying boyfriend Mitchell, the village policeman.    It’s moving but never maudlin.

Half Breed is one of a minor wave  of shows by and about black women on this year’s Fringe.    In scale and ambition it’s  exactly the kind of theatre work we should see on the Festival, and a joy to watch.

Assembly George Square, The Box.  Until August 27

Tickets here


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