Michael Odewale: #BLACKBEARSMATTER
- Tom Bruce-Gardyne
- 16 August 2019
This article is from 2019
Social commentary that doesn't quite hang together
In his debut Fringe hour, Michael Odewale prowls the stage with a certain swagger. At times he's a bit like a boxer: a couple of steps to the right, quick jab here; a couple of steps to the left, another jab there. These jabs are social observations, mostly at his own expense as a Nigerian boy growing up in Dagenham where he flipped between the local comp and a private school. It's a recipe for never quite fitting in, of being not black enough, or too black and poor, in the case of the posh school.
As a young man he wants to be genuinely woke and engaged in social issues, but worries he's just going through the motions. Is lying in bed, tick-boxing Change.org petitions and posting them on Facebook virtue signalling? Almost certainly. At some point we get to the show's title with a reimagining of Paddington Bear. It's one of Odewale's many stories that don't fit together. His stand-up routine feels disjointed at times, and there's not much engagement with the audience. Towards the end he slightly runs out of steam, and his wry social commentary has lost its edge.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 25 Aug, 5.30pm; 18 Aug, 3.30pm, £7.50–£10 (£6.50–£9).