Controversial show set for Fringe

FILL in the vowels and you have the most controversial show title of this year's Fringe.

Nggrfg is set to be one of the most talked-about productions of 2012 as audiences struggle to pronounce the name of the show which merges two of the most offensive and controversial words in the English language.

Written and performed by award-winning Canadian writer/actor Berend McKenzie, the show is a gripping, true, often funny exploration of the twin evils of homophobia and racism. A huge hit at the Vancouver and Edmonton Fringe festivals, Nggrfg is opening up the discussion around two of the most potent words in the English language and is changing the way people think about and use these words. Nggrfg is for anyone who feels like an outsider.

In a series of stories based on his life, Berend McKenzie delivers a stunning one-man show about growing up both black and gay and his experience of being the victim of cruel taunts and marginalisation. His character fluctuates between being an outcast, a rebel, a dropout and a survivor. Ultimately, he finds the strength to face down the two wounding words that affect his life.

Berend McKenzie, an acclaimed actor who has starred in films alongside Halle Berry and Angelina Jolie, said: “I decided to write about my experiences dealing with racism and homophobia after Michael Richards [Seinfeld] called his audience at Hollywood's Laugh Factory 'niggers' and Ann Coulter [US Conservative commentator] called one of the then Vice-Presidential candidates a 'faggot'.

“All of the pundits on TV were talking about banning these words. I thought: 'If we ban the words how can I speak of my experiences in dealing with them?' I came to realise that we can't erase the power of words by pretending they don't exist. I felt the need to speak my truth.

“Before writing this show I hated the words ‘nigger’ and ‘fag’. I hated what they stood for; I resented the pain they have caused others and mourned the lives that have been taken because of them. Since writing Nggrfg I realise that it is not the words that are the problem – it's the meaning behind them and how people use them. This show is changing the dialogue we are having about these words.”


The Spaces on the Mile (Venue 39), Radisson Hotel, 80 High Street

Aug 6-18 (not 12) Previews Aug 3-4

7.20pm (60 mins)


Editor’s Notes

Nggrfg is co-produced by Tyrone Brown in association with Brownbox Theatre, winner of the 2002 Fringe First Award for his production of Black To My Roots: African American Tales from the Head and the Heart by Kathya Alexander and Reneschia Brown. Brownbox Theatre is a Seattle-based company whose mission is the creation, development, and production of re-imagined African American theatre.

For more information, interview requests and high res images contact Barry McDonald at Tartan Penguin Media on 07968 141 895 or

Contact: Barry McDonald
Phone: 07968 141 895