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Four Edinburgh Fringe stars to watch

LET US ENTERTAIN YOU: Magical Bones; Travis Jay; Sophie Duker and Michael Odewale are all ready to create the right impression and go down a storm with Edinburgh Festival Fringe-goers

EVERY AUGUST the world’s largest arts event of its kind, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, transforms the Scottish capital into a melting pot of creativity.

Taking place over 25 days, and featuring over 55,000 performances, the festival welcomes audiences to enjoy comedic, theatrical and musical performances across the city.

This year, Fringe has opened its arms to a multitude of extraordinary young black creatives, each with a unique and captivating air. Hold tight while we introduce you to them...

SOPHIE DUKER

Twitter and Instagram: @sophiedukebox
Dates: July 31, August 1-13, 15-25
Venue: Pleasance Courtyard Time: 7pm

Stand-up comedian, writer and television producer Sophie Duker describes herself as “sexy-cerebral comedy underdog”.

Her show, Venus, takes a deep, yet somehow hilarious dive into the over-sexualisation of ethnic female bodies.

Duker told The Voice although her first objective, when performing, will always be to entertain, with her niche perspective on society, she hopes to leave people questioning their everyday attitudes to different social issues.

She explains it really amuses her that so many young comedics are so concerned about being politically correct.

Instead, she believes it is important to be provocative and silly, people should be able to laugh at serious topics.

“Yeah, sure, it makes some people uncomfortable – but that is not my problem.”

The provocative performer discovered her comedic talents after pursuing an interest in improvisational drama at Oxford University.

Duker always considered herself a “creative actor” but wasn’t yet brave enough to establish herself as a comedian.

Her comedic career began after she applied to work with Indie Diversity Scheme, a programme which seeks to connect independent production companies with people from under-represented groups, spent her internship with Hat Trick in 2013.

Since then, Sophie has starred in a comedy pilot for Channel 4 called Riot Girls, as well as a new pilot for Comedy Central UK called What I Wish I’d Said.

She has also co-written with the BBC Famlam, The News Quiz and The Now Show, and with Cartoon Network, The Amazing World of Gumball. She has also been shortlisted for the BBC New Comedy Award and is a previous finalist of the Funny Women Awards.

The Oxford Graduate also founded and now hosts Manic Pixie Dream Girls, an international, intersectional feminist comedy show that appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2016 and 2017.
Within the next five years Sophie hopes to write and produce her own comedic series on Netflix or for the BBC.

Inspired by Tiffany Haddish’s Tuca and Bertie, the young comedic sees it important to have shows like these from young black women who aren’t afraid of being controversial, but also hilariously funny.

MICHAEL ODELWALE

Instagram: @michealodewalecomedy
Twitter: @michealodewale Dates: July 31, August 1-11, 13-15
Venue: Pleasance Courtyard, Bunker Two
Time: 5.30pm

Micheal Odewale’s Black Bears Matters covers everything from politics to pigeons, and all that lies between. The selfish comedian offers a nuanced approach to racial discussions, stereotypes and collective approaches.

Inspired by Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle, school debater Odewale, always liked the idea that as a comedian “you can literally say whatever you want as long as it’s funny”.

He began doing stand-up whilst at university in 2014, but it was not until the budding performer won the BBC New Comedian Award that he thought, ‘Maybe I could make a career out of this’.
As a newcomer to the comedic scene, Michael wants blackbearsmatters to showcase all that he can do. He’s promised Fringe will be his “graduation” to the big leagues.

TRAVIS JAY

Instagram and Twitter: @travisjayent
Dates: August:1-11, 13-15, 17-25
Venue: Just The Tonic at The Mash House
Time: 2.35pm

Travis Jay, the animated storyteller with a nuance dynamic. Jay’s show opens up about his lived experiences as a father, each sketch based in total truth “just with a bit of sauce on it”.

The comedian turned actor has performed alongside comedic legend Dave Chappelle, an experience he explained was insane.

Travis told The Voice he never even thought about being a comedian when he was younger. Basketball was his thing.

Before every match he’d watch Chappelle’s shows, memorise the jokes and perform them to his parents. He said he never even realised he was cashing the “stand-up bug” but now sees all the ingredients were already there.

For Travis, Fringe is his introduction to the industry. Despite having already established himself within the black circle of comics, he hopes his show at Fringe will be his debut performance, entrenching his name.

A little message from the comedian himself: “Shout out to Edinburgh Fringe. Everyone needs to get their tickets! Hang around after my show, let’s talk, or grab a pint, I got nothing better to do.”

MAGICAL BONES

Instagram, Facebook and Twitter: @magicalbones Dates: July 31 - August 1-11, 13-25
Venue: Underbelly, Bristol Square
Time: 6.25pm

Magician and professional hip hop dancer, Magical Bones takes street magic to a new level.
His tricks are an accumulation of his ideas, thoughts, lifestyle and environment, using hip hop music as a backdrop for his tricks and also incorporating his acrobatic skills with his signature backflip routine.

The magician said his interest began at the age of 10 when his mum gave him a magic set for a birthday present.

Day in and day out he would practice the tricks until he knew them like the back of his hand. Fast forward a couple years and he starts performing his tricks on the streets of London.

In 2015 his television series Around the World in 80 tricks aired. It was a documentary following him through the streets of France and Barcelona.

He said it was a “great experience, a chance for me to showcase my niche fusion of breakdance and street magic on an international stage.''

I asked Magical Bones what should we expect from him at Fringe. Quite simply he responded: “Black magic.”

Inspired by the story of Henry “Box” Brown, a former slave who escaped to freedom by mailing himself from Virginia to Pennsylvania, he hopes to challenge preconceived notions of black magic.

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