If you’ve not come across the work of Hetain Patel before, go and watch his TED Talk Who am I? Think again. Done that? Good – now you’ll understand why we’re excited that his new show American Man is coming to Manchester as part of SICK! Festival.
American Man picks up, sensibly enough, where his last one American Boy (which was also on at Contact) left off; only this time Patel is not using superhero costumes to give himself superpowers. Instead, he’s disguised as a white man, in the belief that it will allow him to do whatever he wants in the world (take a look at most of our leaders and it’s hard not to agree with his logic).
As well as a fantastic performer Patel is a brilliant ideas man, and his shows are brim-full of creative thoughts and stylistic quirks. There’s always a lot to take in, but his humour and energy mean you go along with him on his fast-paced trips through identity issues like race, gender and nationality. No, not every single trick clicks, but those that do create very special – and often very funny – moments.
We need people like Patel, who can open up on issues like political correctness, race politics and sexuality that we’re often too embarrassed (or scared) to talk about.