Laughing Horse @ 48 Below (Venue 146)
Solo performer Gavino di Vino packs an impressively wide range of character work, lived experience and social commentary into the 30-odd minutes of Auntie.
The semi-autobiographical show offers a kaleidoscopic take on di Vino’s experiences as a mixed-race young gay man, from the different challenges associated with British and African heritage to the frustrations of living in rapidly gentrifying east London.
The main figures are proud, boisterous, insult-happy “Kengerian” Auntie, whose fierceness doesn’t quite mask her own oppression, and her son Mtoto, whose difference Auntie can’t abide even as he struggles to find somewhere else to fit in. There are also funny, deliberately awkward encounters with a well-meaning teacher and a patronising hipster party girl.
Di Vino smoothly and entertainingly embodies a range of types rarely seen on the Fringe, deftly sketching their foibles and interconnections to impressive cumulative effect while occasionally casting the audience as a church congregation or Hackney revellers.
The show might benefit from a stronger sense of narrative progression and more confident pacing. But Auntie remains engaging for the amusing, nuanced and nonjudgmental perspective it offers on lives too often reduced to caricatures or tokenistic gestures, if not ignored altogether.
Until 20 August. Today 8:45pm.