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  • Writer's pictureHinton Magazine

Edinburgh Fringe Fest - Ikechukwu Ufomadu

Emmy-nominated comedian Ikechukwu Ufomadu makes his Edinburgh debut in Amusements by Ikechuckwu Ufomadu, a rigorously non-sensical piece of comic entertainment that examines universal themes like “Numbers”, “The Alphabet”, and “Humankind’s Unyielding Search for Meaning in a World That Denies Us Easy Answers”.

Ike operates somewhere in the space between solo theatre, stand-up, sketch and character-comedy. We were lucky enough to pin him down and talk about his delight in the amusing nature of showbiz, his experience with puppets and the strangest reaction he’s received from an audience member.

What can audiences expect from ‘Amusements’?

If I do my job well, I think it’s reasonable for audiences to expect that they will be amused anywhere from “once” to “countless times” over the course of the show. And if there’s an audience out there whose idea of a good time involves a surreal, one-man variety hour that’s equal parts dry, silly and absurd, there’s a high probability they’ll be among the ones who are amused “countless times”.

This is your UK debut, are you excited? Nervous? Scared?

It’s long been a goal - I might even venture to call it a dream - to bring an original solo show to Edinburgh. And as with many goal/dreams that are on the verge of being realized, I feel a potent mix of excitement, nervousness and fear. But I find that always does me good. If I walk into any kind of performance situation with zero nerves, it’s usually a sign some part of me is checked out.

You wear a few different hats – writer, performer, actor – what is it you love about showbusiness?

I’ve always looked at show business with (forgive me) amusement. And anything I can look on with amusement brings me deep delight. Being in show business has always struck me as a fascinating, humorous and curious way to make one’s way in the world (not to mention difficult, capricious and with long odds of success). It encapsulates the seriousness of the need for deep play - a need I find kind of funny, but also one I deeply feel. Particularly when I’m writing and performing my own material, I enjoy the play that comes with following one’s curiosity, examining anything in the world that’s taken for granted and finding some odd way to turn it on its head. I love the act of making the familiar strange.

What’s been your favourite moment, or highlight of your career so far?

A couple of years ago, I got called in to guest star on an episode of this TV series called Helpsters, produced by the same company behind Sesame Street. My character was Wizard Wallace, and he went to get help from the Helpsters (all puppets) after accidentally turning his best friend into a frog. Hands down, among the most delightful, playful and fascinating times I’ve ever had on a set. I think everyone should interact with puppets as an adult at least once in their life.

What’s the strangest thing someone has said to you before, during, or after a gig?

There was a workshop performance of Amusements I did last winter where, for reasons I can’t begin to fathom, nearly every punchline in the show was punctuated by a young woman in the audience saying, “Aww,” as in “Aww, that’s sweet,” or “Aww, that’s cute,” or “Aww, you poor thing.” At first, it was just this odd one-off sound. But then it just kept happening and happening. There was no discernible pattern as to what kind of material was causing her to make that sound. Just a whole show where with every big laugh came an unmistakable “Aww”. Not exactly a heckle. Not exactly praise. Just very strange.

Amusements by Ike Ufomadu will be performed at 5.40pm in Pleasance Courtyard (Bunker Two) from 2nd – 27th August (Not 16th)



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