With her debut Fringe show Black Girl, Twayna Mayne brings to Edinburgh a dazzling slice of socially and politically minded stand-up. Her set gets its title, Mayne says, from her acute awareness of her race and gender – and that’s exactly what this comedy routine is about.
For the hour, Mayne deadpans about the representation of black women in media, quips dryly about cultural appropriation, and rolls out punchlines related to the difficulties she’s encountered while navigating her cultural identity. Her perceptive, personal witticisms are hilarious, but also incredibly important; through the medium of her razor-sharp, pop-culture peppered humour, Mayne sheds light on the type of injustices and social issues that most comedians would probably shy away from in favour of frivolity and cheap laughs.
Frivolity and cheap laughs categorically aren’t Mayne’s style. Not for one second. Instead, she skilfully weaves humour into candid stories about growing up black and female in the UK, and into the story of her adoption. She’s frank about her life, and unapologetic. Her insightful observations are presented with glittering comedic flare, and the frequent incorporation of anecdotes into her set ensures there’s personality aplenty.
Mayne’s brilliantly executed blend of sarcasm, personal stories, and astute socio-political observations makes for an intimate and seriously compelling show. Honest and bold, Mayne looks set for big things.
Words: Morgan Laing
Picture: Steve Ullathorne
Twayna Mayne: Black Girl, Pleasance Courtyard, Aug 5-27 (not 16), 4.45pm