Labels

Worklight

Pleasance Courtyard

From 08 August 2016 to 29 August 2016

Rating: *****

Review by Liam Blain

A simple yet significant one-man show that defines difference as something to be celebrated.

Worklight’s award-winning production Labels returns to the Fringe this year, once again throwing the spotlight on preconception, judgement and the essence of humanity. Performed entirely by Joe Sellman-Leava as himself and using only a suitcase, a stool and an endless supply of sticky labels, he picks his way brilliantly through the tapestry of his life.

He explains how everyone is labelled on a day-to-day basis, mainly out of curiosity and fear. Growing up with a dad of Indian descent in Cheltenham, his labels were at times foul or fictitious simply based on the colour of his skin.

As the production grows in intensity and Sellman-Leava begins delving into big issues including wars and immigration, you can’t help but sit back and allow everything this young man is saying to truly sink in.

It is a fast-paced and fun hour that, although tackling difficult ideas, is always enjoyable and never feels like a lecture. The artistry of the production is spectacular and exciting to witness. From audience participation during a Tinder exchange to a paper aeroplane competition in the front row, the piece is perfectly directed by Katharina Reinthaller.

Labels has an important message to impart and, by utilising everything theatre has to offer, Worklight has worked hard to state it. It’s not often you can describe a piece as serious and sad yet spellbinding and spectacular but this is certainly the label this show deserves.