Rudi Lickwood is Black British And Proud

Note: This review is from 2003

Review by Steve Bennett

In this, his first one-man Edinburgh show, Rudi Lickwood promises a sharp, satirical look at identity and how its defined by nationality.

Unfortunately, he fails to deliver on that promise, thanks to his tendency to use stereotypes of his own and his inability to follow through what are initially bright ideas.

Things start well, with Lickwood taking to the stage to a hip-hop version of the National Anthem, fused with traditional gaelic music, encapsulating all the ethnicity he wanted to represent.

Rum and coke to one side and cigarette in hand, Lickwood then shares his observations on such widely explored topics as the monarchy, his penchant for big women (any women, in fact), and the obligatory Iraq, Bush and Blair material without adding much new.

Lickwood's fail-safe nostalgia about Chinese burns, plimsoles and dead legs, were all well received - as were tales of his encounters with drugs. But it all seemed slight, and slightly contrived.

It wasn't all so bland, though, and Lickwood is prepared to tackle contentious issues, such as slavery, oppression of women and the British empire's pillaging of the black world's cultural antiquities. But he never pushed his astute, thought-provoking ideas beyond the superficial.

Any arguments he could have made were also undermined with gags relying on stereotypical images of men being bastards, women being neurotic and black people being thieves.

Lickwood's certainly got something, but he needs to step out of Eddie Murphy's shadow as a performer and extend himself as a writer.

Review date: 1 Jan 2003
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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