Entertainment Hive 2020

Labels by Joe Sellman-Leava

Adelaide Fringe, Holden Street Theatres, The Studio until Sunday, March 13

Review by Honey B

Words can be powerful - comedian Joe Sellman-Leava knows this all too well. Brought up in a multi-cultural British family Sellman-Leava uses his own personal stories and that of his family’s journey to delve into the issues of racism and immigration. Sellman-Leava made his point by placing big, white sticky labels all over himself – some descriptive and others more painful. The more hurtful ones are those that tried to put him in a box – label him a “Paki’’ or an “Indian’’. In an easy style, Sellman- Leava had the audience thinking about our language and how we use words. The thoughtful British comedian got his point across by imitating politicians and celebrities who have bigoted views on migration and refugees. Some of these outspoken opponents to immigration included Donald Trump, The Sun journalist Katie Hopkins and our own Tony Abbott with his “turn back the boats’’ policy. This show comes at a pivotal time with the refugee crisis in Europe and many people looking for a safe haven. But the award-winning production does not simply preach about racism, this show has a warm human heartbeat thanks to Sellman-Leava relating his family’s own personal journey. Through his vivid storytelling style we learn a lot about the Sellman-Leava family – good times and not so good. They sound like an amazing, loving family, why should anyone care about where they are from or the colour of a person’s skin? Unfortunately, many judge too quickly. Sellman-Leava ripped those labels off in a charming, witty and insightful show.
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