Edinburgh Fringe – (I)sland T(rap): The Epic Remixology of The Odyssey

(I)sland T(rap): The Epic Remixology of The Odyssey
Written & Performed by Austin Dean Ashford
Assembly Checkpoint
31 JUL – 26 AUG
13:15 (1 hour)

by Bernie C Byrnes

Austin is scared, and with good reason. He’s afraid of water and the waters are rising. As a young black man living in America he has even more to fear but we’re all existing in a society where: ‘bodies become boats for others to float on’.

(I)sland T(rap) is a hip-hop riff about Black Ulysses on an Odyssey of self-discovery and a powerful exploration of a young artist of colour navigating the turbulent waters of contemporary American culture while trying to find his authentic voice.

It is funny, clever and beautifully performed. This tour-de-force charts a soul journey on an exotic island where Black Ulysses discovers his place in a society full of gun violence and oppression through lyrical poetry and live music.

At one hour long, the narrative feels at times a touch flabby but Austin Dean Ashford’s monumental performance of music, physical theatre and stellar characterisation means this can be more than forgiven.

There are some beautiful teachings here and as Austin learns, so do we. When he returns to reality it is clear the world may not have changed but he has: ‘you can’t hold anything in a fist. If you’re too closed off you don’t receive.’ The pen is mightier than the sword and delightfully it seems, rap (when it’s this good) can be mightier than a gun.


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