Fin Taylor: Whitey McWhiteface | Review by Steve Bennett
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Fin Taylor: Whitey McWhiteface

Review by Steve Bennett

Louis CK has a fantastic routine about how it’s great to be white. Not that white people are better than anyone else, of course, but how BEING white is clearly better. Over this provocative, passionate and privilege-checking hour, Fin Taylor takes that notion and really runs with it.

His ideas couldn’t be more pertinent, accepting that racism is a white problem and white people have to talk about it. That said, he acknowledges that such prejudice is always going to be academic to the likes of him – who stakes a very convincing claim to be the whitest person in a room of almost universally white people – while being a visceral reality to others.

Do not for a moment think this is a show for smug liberals to feel good about themselves, though, as he gets to the nub of the self-delusion that simply being a tolerant person is enough. The middle-class lefties are an insidious part of the problems, he rages, as he exposes the corrosive effect of gentrification, with cupcake bakeries the twee face of a fierce social cleansing. And don’t get him started on those who manufacture oppression and petty offence, to muddle their trivial, selfish issues with the real oppression.

Though late at night in an archetypal Fringe sweatbox, Taylor’s intense show demands attention, as it’s packed full of opinion and contentious ideas which he either backs up, or exposes as an ironic ploy to wrongfoot you. It’s intellectually nimble and delivered with the zeal of man who knows he’s got to convince the world of its folly.

He’s driven in part, by self-loathing – Taylor is in no doubt his ultra-privileged position makes him a huge part of the problem – which spices up the potent cocktail of bitterness and righteousness that fuels his invective.

Shifting perspectives and unmasking truths is all very noble, but Taylor makes it brutally funny, too. He spars with the audience, setting up ideas and demolishing them, not always comfortably but with devastating accuracy and force. And for all his powerful arguments and astute social observations, there’s an ambiguity to many of the routines, mischievously obscuring his true intent and the ‘correct’ response. That’s never more so than in an outrageously over-the-top finale that boldly uses cultural appropriation to spread some new negative stereotypes about the honkeys.

In his third Fringe outing, and still only in his mid-twenties, Taylor is a comic who’s mastered his swagger, and is fearlessly deploying it on a hotly relevant topic. You know his defiant rants won’t change the world, but by god you wish they did.

Review date: 8 Aug 2016
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Laughing Horse at the Counting House

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