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Edmonton Sun Wed, August 18, 2004
It's all black & white; One-woman show a witty, poignant look at race, culture
By Mike Ross *****

If you attend the excellent local festival we fondly refer to as "Meat on a Stick" - a.k.a. Heritage Days -- only to exclaim, "Where did all these foreigners come from?!" have yourself a heaping helping of Deep Fried Curried Perogies. You might learn something. For one thing, Edmonton is not as white bread as it seems. There's plenty of white rice, too. Michelle Todd's one-woman show is a walking, talking, dancing advertisement promoting Edmonton's surprising racial diversity. So many cultures, so many types of meat on a stick!
The show opens with a description of a mixed-race smorgasbord: Her dad is Jamaican, her mom is Filipina and she's having the baby of her white boyfriend whose parents are Ukrainian and British. Hence the title, eh? Our Heritage Days hero says she is the "darkest girl at the Filipino pavilion and the lightest girl at the Caribbean pavilion."
At heart, Todd's monologue is a vivid, funny and sometimes poignant coming-of-age story about a mixed-race kid born and raised in Edmonton,

struggling to find out who she is and where she fits in. In fact, she knows all along: "I'm from Edmonton! I'm Canadian!" It's her friends, schoolmates, family, the government - in short, everyone else - who feed her identity confusion. One memory includes, "My dad smiled at every black person he saw. I figured he knew them all."
Nagging questions come up: "Will people mistake me for the nanny?" And from the deepest pit in hell - high school - comes this sobering observation: "The worst racism I ever faced was ... from the black girl community." But while pet peeves are aired (sample: "You sound white!"), Todd keeps the tone light throughout.
She's an engaging performer, illustrating her points with parental impressions, hairstyling humour, sharp-witted pokes at stereotypes and a masterful facility at dances that range from the Macarena to Boot Scootin' Boogie.
Never mind Edmonton's cultural melting pot. There's a mind-boggling amount of cultural diversity contained in just this one performer - ironically one of the most "together" performers at the Fringe this year

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