An Evening With an Immigrant

at Traverse Theatre

* * * * -

Inua Ellams presents his new intimate poetry and storytelling show.

Image of An Evening With an Immigrant
Note: This review is from the 2017 Fringe


Inua Ellams is a poet and playwright who was born in Nigeria in 1984. At the age of 12 he moved to the UK with his family. Eventually they were displaced again, this time in Ireland, where they lived for 3 years before returning to London. Here Inua started writing poetry and creating theatre performances. The best known of Inua’s performances is The 14th Tale, which went on to win a Fringe First award and then transferred to the prestigious National Theatre in London. Inua is returning to Edinburgh to present his new poetry and storytelling show An Evening With an Immigrant at the Traverse Theatre during the Edinburgh Fringe.

At times it can be a wonderful and joyful experience to sit back, relax and listen as a poet takes to a stage to read out their work. An Evening With an Immigrant is part poetry reading, part storytelling show and spending 90 minutes in the presence of such a brilliant writer and endearing poet is a fantastic and heart warming experience. The show follows Inua’s life, from his time in Nigeria as a boy, to his move to London. We hear stories and poem about boarding school life in Nigeria and the mischief he used to get up to with his friends. These stories are poems read out with a nostalgic glint in the performer’s eye, as he describes his experiences with joyful abandon. As the show progresses Inua’s situation changes drastically and he finds himself being the only black kid in an Irish school. Displacement is one of the major themes of An Evening With an Immigrant and when Inua describes the immigration process in the UK it draws gasps of shock from the audience.

The intimate space in Traverse 2 is perfect to experience the show. The location feels warm and welcoming and this is mainly due to the endearing nature of our storyteller. An Evening With an Immigrant is developed in partnership with Fuel Theatre – a company who ‘produce fresh work for adventurous people by inspiring artists‘. During the performance Inua describes how this organisation has assisted in his career and how they recognised his talent. Hopefully more collaborations will follow as Inua is a brilliant performer with many original and exciting stories to tell.