Qyeen SweeTs: NorthernXposure (The Stand, 18 – 30 Aug : 22.40 : 1hr)

“A clever balance between physicality, language and accent”

Editorial Rating: 3 Stars

This show is part stand-up, part forthright declaration about feminism and heritage, and part mish-mash of the two. The comedy sections were generally well delivered and funny, the ranting clear and powerful, if somewhat serious, while all the bits in the middle were neither one nor the other, so it was difficult to know whether I was supposed to be finding them funny or not.

There were elements of the show which were particularly enjoyable, and to me where SweeTs strengths, are in the stylistic imitation of the various characters in her story. In particular “lassie” – the well-spoken lady from London, and her other interrogators on her visit. She used a clever balance between physicality, language and accent to make her characters at once recognisable and human.

Indeed, the parts of the set which focussed on storytelling (tales of her recent trip to London and recounts of her school days) were the easiest parts to follow and interweave jokes and caricatures. SweetYs excels at honing in on key moments and delivering one liners deadpan irony, while her selective repetition of some lines in her stories, each time delivered with a slightly different emphasis to show the thought process were also very amusing. We all know that sometimes if you say something more than once it might make more sense, and this idea SweetYs explores with great success.

What I was most disappointed in and let down by about this show was its climax. When referring to her encounter in London she loudly and proudly declared to her gathered audience that she was indeed the only female African Scottish rapper, and was prepared to do a rap to any beat she was given to prove that yes, she did rap. So that was when the beat kicked in, and I was expecting some lyric spitting of a very high calibre. Unfortunately, what followed was a rather measly few lines as a chorus and a lot of pregnant pauses filled with strutting around the stage and trying to get the audience to clap along.

Like much of the show, I couldn’t tell if this was an ironic moment, or a genuine attempt at rapping. Either way, the impact was lost and this turned into a bit of a downer on what otherwise was quite a promising performance.

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Reviewer: Steve Griffin (Seen 18 August)

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