Review: Labels

August 29th at Pleasance Courtyard
3 Stars (3 / 5)

Directed by Katharina Reinthaller, Labels is a semi-autobiographical solo show featuring Joe Sellman-Leava, who, through an exploration of his past and his relationship with his father, creates discourse about migration and racial prejudice.

The stories shared are absolutely relatable the audience members who have ever been labelled as immigrant or minority, and sobering to those who have never experienced the fear and uncertainty that comes with looking different. At the same time, the play seems over-polished, lacking a genuine sense of comedy when it is meant to be funny, or gravity when it is meant to be serious. Sellman-Leava pauses before and/or after a joke, killing the moment, and seems to be going through the motions instead of connecting personally with the audience. The staging does not have as much significance and does not play to the entire audience in a thrust setting.

Labels is highly expository, more like a TED Talk than a theatrical piece. Its issues, however, are exceedingly relevant and serves as a crucial reminder of the importance of the role of theatre in exploring current affairs.