Noodle Palace: Bruce Fummey's Afro-Scottish Stress
Bruce Fummey's show is all about the trauma and ills of racial stereotyping; A mixed-race Afro-Celtic child from Perth in Scotland, who grew up in a period before widespread integration in the UK, he brings a personal backstory full of hatred and melancholy to his work.
Fummey is a comedian in title, having taken this show over to Perth from the Edinburgh Fringe in Scotland, but I'm not sure he's a particularly good one. He seems to be a more accomplished public speaker. His jokes all lean on familiar crutches, using one liners about how inbred the people of Fife and Rockingham are, his penis size and how often he masturbates that could have been spun by any local rowdy in a RAW comedy heat. At the end of the show he lamented that we “didn't laugh as much as people normally do” and since I was in the front row, he may have been using my and my other non-Scottish friend's reactions as a gauge of the effectiveness of his material outside his motherland.
The performance however was punctured by brief heart-tugging moments of honest self-reflection. One moment that stands out is a story that Fummey told about going to Murrayfield to watch a Scotland versus New Zealand rugby international as a teenager, and being told that it was a sad day “when we need to find niggers to support us”. It's also beautiful when he returns to this story with pride at how non-European people have come to represent and excel in Scottish national sports in the 21st century, let alone having Scotland accept the mixed race Scottish as their own. He is equally touching when he reveals the depth of his emotional connection to Scotland, despite the racism he's brushed up to there, supporting Scottish nationalism and lamenting its airbrushing from British history by English gatekeepers.
If you're going to see this show then you have a conundrum. It's a comedy show that's not very funny, but also one that's unusually emotionally affecting. If you come to it expecting gut-busting laughs you'll probably leave disappointed, but if you come only expecting laughs you'll leave with a deep insight into the confused psyche of mixed-race children growing up in deeply prejudiced European societies. It all depends where your expectations lie.