James Nokise Fringe Preview – Britain, Let’s Talk About the Golliwogs, ★★★

When the show opens with a Samoan/Welsh man dressed as a Golliwog under the light of a projected head of a Golliwog you might expect that you’re in for a challenging and uncomfortable hour of stand up comedy. Nokise’s stories of casual racism he’s suffered deliver a few earned gasps from the audience at the Stand, but ultimately this is a more light-hearted experience than you might anticipate.

In a show that spans New Zealand, Australia, The United States and Britain, as well as brief sojourns to American Samoa Nokisie takes us through his family background, racism in each of the countries mentioned, immigration officials and, to bring the show full circle, his Welsh roots. Incredibly engaging was his section on the history of the Golliwog, using the educational piece to save the show from much of a lull. Throughout the show Nokise uses Powerpoint slides to illustrate certain points, although this feels like a laboured crutch that doesn’t add anything.

Although the show was raw and clearly still being adapted for the Fringe audiences, Nokise has a knowledge of his topic that leaves you feeling that you understand the world’s relationship with the Golliwog just a little bit more.


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