We are all guilty of applying labels to people, things and even relationships whether we realise it or not. It is way of making distinctions and labels define who we are and what we do. Not all labels have positive effects though and this thoroughly astute and engaging show by Joe Sellman-Leava questions why we and how we label and the effects our way of looking at the world.
Early on in the performance Joe runs us through his early personal history, his family background, his upbringing and explains how he never really thought about where he came from until he attended University and a friend asked him where he came from. After explaining his background it became clear that this sis not what she meant and that what she was really enquiring about was the colour of his skin.
Explaining that his father’s family originated from India he found it strange that he had to explain himself in this way but realised that it was probably nothing compared to what his father probably had to go through. It transpires that originally the family name was Patel but his father changed it when he realised it was a hindrance when trying to attain work.
Aside from this obvious racism which has been a long-standing feature in his life Sellman-Leava shows us through a humorous Tinder exchange and extremely persuasive rhetoric how these attitudes still persist.
Despite the fact it deals with serious topics and issues which affect some more than others Labels is a thoroughly entertaining show captivating its audience from the outset. Sellman-Leava is a totally charismatic and engaging performer who has no problems gaining the audience’s attention-his smooth tones go some way to making what he says even more listenable than it already is and giving his argument a persuasive edge- and keeping it throughout the one hour duration.
Definitely thought provoking and intriguing, Labels is a show up there with the best of this year’s Fringe; definitely one worth making an effort for.
Labels is on at Pleasance Courtyard until 29th August (not 16th) at 2.15 daily

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