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Di Vino Productions | View Performers Biography


Venue:The Phoenix, 46-48A Broughton Street Edinburgh EH1 3SA
Phone: 0131 557 6944
Links: Click Here for venue details, Click here for map
Ticket Prices: Free  
Room: Phoenix Below
AUG 8-20 at 20:45 (60 min)
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A black comedy about a black family living in Hackney.

Explores the horror and hilarity of a family overcoming prejudice in all its ugly forms, exploring how that affects the human character in the context of being an African immigrant family in modern-day Hackney. I draw parallels between oppressed groups; women, ethnic minorities, the working classes and LGBT people by playing characters who, through the lottery of birth, battles these disadvantages.

Drawing from personal experience to inform the dialogue and themes covered in my work, basing the flaws and cutting humour on African women I've met and in my family, I tackle the issues around a woman from Kengeria (a fictional pan-African state, playing on the Western belief that Africa is mono-cultural) feeling lost in the British class system, desiring the prestige of the white upper class (which she reads about in Kengeria in the fictional Ey! Ey! magazine, a parody of Hello!) but finding her reality of white working class and immigrant communities in Dalston frustrating and unsatisfactory "I see no champagne and caviar but tatty Gregg and chicken and a chip shop!"

Auntie recounts the difficulties of a youth spent in a misogynistic African country, conveying her bitterness and pain from her troubled relationship with men, memories of an abusive father and husband, who mocked her for being "bushy" e.g. not displaying desirably sophisticated Western qualities, this post-colonial identity crisis manifesting as outrageous remarks fuelled by internalised misogyny and racism, producing authentic but uncomfortable laughter.

Auntie's mixed-race, "bastard" son, Mtoto, born in Kengeria, is a dark mirror of myself, exhibiting the same confusion, bitterness and prejudice as his mother, his cutting observations a form of therapy for exorcising these dark feelings.

He, in the white heat of family drama, throws vicious shade at his mother, vocalising her hypocrisy,
labelling him as a "sinner" but highlighting how she goes to church to gossip and flounce, in her "Ridley Road Market couture" having to wipe his iPad clean of her pornography and sending explicit pictures to various men. Discussing racism and homophobia, singled out for his lighter skin in a
predominantly black school, mocked as effeminate by other pupils and mother, his comedic but depressing attempts to blend in including wearing a baggy tracksuit in Rastafarian colours with his hood up, before revealing his flamboyant clothing and makeup underneath.

A resolution is met, however, by Mtoto recognising his and his mother's joint social exclusion and how, despite their present differences, their relationship is ultimately unbreakable because of their mother and son bond.

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News and Reviews for this Show

August 18, 2017  To Do List
A comedy-drama challenging African attitudes to homosexuality.

Gavino de Vino is a powerhouse performer with a sensitive soul. His website tagline states that he is ‘making the world turn one stomp at a time’.

The show is less sketch show than the poster suggests, and is really about the attitudes of his mother – aka ‘Auntie’ – and a dysfunctional array of characters telling his own struggles with being gay in ‘Kengeria’. There is certainly a lot of humour in the show, and at times poignancy.

This young renegade is destined to go far, and we think he could easily become the next Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag) or Chewing Gum’s Michaela Coel… RD Click Here

August 12, 2017  The Scotsman
Solo performer Gavino di Vino packs an impressively wide range of character work, lived experience and social commentary into the 30-odd minutes of Auntie.

The semi-autobiographical show offers a kaleidoscopic take on di Vino’s experiences as a mixed-race young gay man, from the different challenges associated with British and African heritage to the frustrations of living in rapidly gentrifying east London.

The main figures are proud, boisterous, insult-happy “Kengerian” Auntie, whose fierceness doesn’t quite mask her own oppression, and her son Mtoto, whose difference Auntie can’t abide even as he struggles to find somewhere else to fit in. There are also funny, deliberately awkward encounters with a well-meaning teacher and a patronising hipster party girl.

Di Vino smoothly and entertainingly embodies a range of types rarely seen on the Fringe, deftly sketching their foibles and interconnections to impressive cumulative effect while occasionally
casting the audience as a church congregation or Hackney revellers.

The show might benefit from a stronger sense of narrative progression and more confident pacing. But Auntie remains engaging for the amusing, nuanced and nonjudgmental perspective it offers on lives too often reduced to caricatures or tokenistic gestures, if not ignored altogether. Click Here

May 20, 2017 Brixton Blog
Auntie the new one-man comedy comes to Brixton
AUNTIE, the new one-man comedy show from East London-based performer Gavino di Vino offers a new perspective on the African immigrant experience. Having already made appearances at Glastonbury, the Camden and Edinburgh Fringes and been filmed for a forthcoming BBC 3 documentary Queer Britain, Auntie makes the Ritzy her living room for one night only on 23 May.

Auntie is your stereotypical overbearing mother. Brash and judgemental, she laments the life choices of her gay, mixed-race son Mtoto, as well as the expectations she had of life in the UK versus what she got. “I thought I was going to live on a posh estate,” says Auntie, “but he put me in a council estate.”

Born to a Kenyan mother and a Liverpudlian father in Birkenhead, actor, writer and linguist Gavino di Vino moved away from his mother at the age of eight to live with his father in Wigan. Cut off from African culture in a place he describes as “famed for its pies but not so much for its diversity”, Gavino found a window back into that world through Nollywood films and Jocelyn Jee Esien’s sketch show, Little Miss Jocelyn.

“Auntie’s not based on one person” explains Gavino of his character, “but on a combination of voices. I have an East African mother, but I have this West African vision of what an African woman is – this hybrid identity.”

It’s a characteristic that Gavino plays on heavily throughout the show. Auntie came to the UK from the fictional African nation of ‘Kengeria’ wearing a gele on her head and a Kenyan flag around her waist.

It was this clash of East meets West Africa that paved the way for Auntie, but it wasn’t until Gavino moved to London for university nearly three years ago that AUNTIE would fully materialise.

“Living in East London I get inspiration every day,” he says. “You’ll have the yummy mummies pushing their prams down Ridley Road market on their way to some trendy café, then you’ll have Auntie selling her wares on a stall, then you’ll have Mtoto going and buying some things for his drag show, so all these things will be happening and I just find it fascinating.”

Jokes aside, AUNTIE doesn’t shy away from controversial issues. From immigration and gentrification to religion and homophobia, the show takes an in-your-face approach to race and identity in London.

The character of Mtoto, is Gavino’s interpretation of what he would have been like had he grown up in London. An “east London queen”, Mtoto clashes with his conservative mother and questions how growing up in London affected his own identity. “It’s placing my own experiences, and the kind racism and the difficulties I experienced, in a London context,” says Gavino.

“It’s an exciting time to be doing this.” He adds. “I think people have xenophobia in their minds, and when they see my show they’ll be able to read things into it. I’ve had people laughing all the way through and then coming up to me afterwards and saying, ‘Oh my gosh that was so intense’.”

AUNTIE opens May 23 Upstairs at The Ritzy at 7.30pm. Tickets are £5. Click Here

August 14, 2016  The Open Door
Auntie: Hackney Gospels
The hardest thing a performer can ask of a small crowd is audience participation. The smaller the audience, the harder it gets. So I was astounded to see the first thing our host Gavino di Vino do was go straight for gold, and get every member on their feet dancing. His energy was infectious and in seconds he had united his guests. We were together, and we were in safe hands.

Di Vino’s performance as Auntie, an African immigrant in the heart of Hackney, is impressive. His embodiment of the character is unshakable and honest, every word and gesture filled with humour and reality. Auntie tells us how she came to the UK, met a less than respectable Scouser (with an immaculate accent to boot) and winds up pregnant and married. Vibrant comedy is balanced with moments of genuine hardship, including a well-written story of meeting her new husbands family. This exemplifies the blind ignorance immigrants have always been met with – a topic close to everyone’s heart in the current political climate. The only flaw in this character is clarity of speech. Whilst the accent is accurate and unwavering, it can be a little too strong for the audience and some plot points were lost.

We then meet Auntie’s son Mtoto, a gay hipster trying to find his place in a clash of cultures. His story is heartfelt and relate-able, an expression of individuality when you are being bombarded by both a ghetto culture and the influence of gentrification. Whilst the writing is solid, I did feel that di Vino’s confidence flagged in comparison to the first half. It was frustrating for the audience to be invested in colourful stories, and then have momentum lost. I felt he was almost apologising to us, which was unnecessary given the strength of the piece.

I left the theatre feeling that I had been allowed to witness the early stages of bold new theatre. The text needs finesse, and di Vino needs to find his rhythm in the words to avoid dropping the pace, but I do believe that the Camden Fringe was home to the first preview of what will be a great piece. It fills me with confidence to see someone create something original and real.
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