Njambi McGrath: Black Black

Njambi McGrath takes us on a tour of her Kenyan heritage by turning her trauma into comedy. 

Njambi McGrath: Black Black

McGrath finds comedy in the darkest places. While telling jokes about her life, McGrath manages to intersperse political commentary, the colonial history of Kenya and the values of her grandmother’s matrilineal tribe.

What I really enjoyed about McGrath’s show was the balance she managed to strike between serious and comedic, which isn’t easy to do. She was able to fluently switch between her own stories and poking fun of the British, her mother-in-law and even members of the audience. 

The key premise of McGrath’s show is drawing parallels between her own experience and her grandmother, who lived during the rule of the British in Kenya. Through this she is able to subtly critique modern British policies which are reminiscent of this time. For example, deporting innocent people to African countries also happened historically in Kenya, where people were sent to Sierra Leone. 

I did feel that McGrath took a little bit of time to warm up to performing and could have been more confident with the material she had. I also felt that the pace of the show could have been slightly faster, without the slight gaps between stories that left the audience floundering.

But despite this, I think that there was so much potential in this show because of its versatility. McGrath’s ability to communicate her experience to a British audience was impressive, first getting the audience on her side before making them uncomfortable. She is using her reach as a comedian in the west to speak on the struggles of her peoples back home, without being preachy or trying to flood the audience with information. I learnt a bit of Kenyan history during the show and I’m sure others in the audience did as well. 

McGrath is a star in the making, and certainly one to watch. 

Read our interview with Njambi McGrath here.

For tickets and more information, visit edfringe.com 

Header Image Credit: Steve Ullathorne


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