The Perfect Immigrant – Dublin Fringe Festival – Review

The Perfect Immigrant – Dublin Fringe Festival – Review

Performances: 13 – 17 September – 20:30, €15/€13
Venue: The New Theatre

As the lights go out in the New Theatre, we hear someone struggling and panting behind us! It is Levi (Samuel Yakura), carrying three large cases down the stairs at the side of the venue. He manages to get to the front and place his bags at the centre of the stage. He opens one case and starts flinging small objects over his head and into the audience. These objects are carefully wrapped Chili peppers that have travelled all the way from Nigeria!

This is the story of Levi, a young Nigerian man who has just arrived in Dublin. He is about to start a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering at Trinity College. He has left his family behind, but they are still very much part of his life. His Mum texts and calls him regularly. He has a difficult relationship with his Father and despite many requests from his Mother, he hasn’t called him yet. He is finding his feet in a new country and learning many things about his new surroundings.

This is a typically stripped-back Fringe production, focusing on the words and not the set or scenery. The stage is quite bare other than for a collection of four wooden pallets pushed together, creating a small raised platform for the actor. There are lights hidden within the pallets which create some interesting lighting effects during the production.

This story is written and performed by Samual Yakura and in many ways, it reflects his own life! Samuel arrived in Ireland in 2018 to pursue a Master’s degree in construction project management. He was involved with poetry in Nigeria and found a home in the Irish literary scene. This production is described as a poetry play, a mix of prose and poetry. The performance is typically in prose but there are poems dotted throughout, with lighting and mood changes as he recites them.

We hear about his battles with his mobile phone company, his attempts to figure out the Irish transport system and also a chance meeting with a young Irish woman who catches his eye. These are small elements that make up the life of an immigrant in a new city. The story is not radically different to many we have heard before, but what elevates this story is the warmth and charisma of the performer. He creates an instant rapport with the audience and holds them throughout this view of life in Dublin, from the outside looking in!

Writer & Performer: Samuel Yakura
Director: Katie O’Halloran
Production Manager: Emily Long
Image: Emmanuel Okoye

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