Edinburgh Festival Fringe: When you have grown up in the townships of South Africa, it’s hard not to laugh at the things white people get upset about.
Gilded Balloon Teviot (Venue 14)
Loyiso Gola has a lot of fun looking at white people’s problems from this perspective – gently reminding his audience that first world problems are pretty minor.
Gola is tall and rangy, with a habit of rolling his eyes and looking to the ceiling as he softly chides us for our privileged ways. But this is not “us and them” comedy. The theme of this show is unlearning what you think you know – and Gola has also decided to throw away the things he thinks he knows about white people – about education, class and what it means to be a man.
He still finds it astonishing to see poor white people – and he cannot quite believe his eyes when he sees a Caucasian person wielding a mop or broom.
In South Africa Gola is a really big deal, a well-known television name – but he drops this in subtly, halfway through the show, in the course of a very silly anecdote about a road trip gone wrong. We British people don’t like to hear people bigging themselv es up at the beginning of a show, he explains.
Gola may be able to play to huge rooms in South Africa, but it is a delight to see him working in a tiny room. He reads the audience brilliantly, feeling his way, noticing the references we get and those we don’t.
His delivery combines the warm and playful intonation of Africa with the pace and rhythm of the great American stand-ups. Behind his playful bewildered style is a brilliant comic brain – inviting us to question what we think we know about colour, privilege and our own history.
Until 28 August. Today 9pm.