Huff: an unflinching look at indigenous life

Christian Butler

Topics Culture

Huff is a one-man show from Cliff Cardinal, an indigenous Canadian writer/performer. It is presented as part of CanadaHub, an initiative in its second year of bringing quality Canadian theatre to the Fringe. This show portrays the hard lives of two indigenous brothers growing up on a reserve. While billed as a dark comedy, the darkness wins out over the laughs in this melancholy play.

The material is curiously contrasted with Cardinal’s performance, in which he shape shifts like a child play acting (he plays children for most of the piece). This wide-eyed innocence is set against scenes of domestic violence, sexual abuse, suicide and addiction. Cardinal consciously manipulates the audience’s discomfort, from the start of the play, where he gets an audience member to help him out of a bag he’s suffocating himself with, to a scene where he covers himself in tomato juice and high fives the audience.

Huff is an unflinching look into a traumatised psyche, as powerful as it is unpleasant.


Christian Butler is a spiked columnist. Follow him on Twitter: @CPAButler

Huff is at King’s Hall until 26 August.

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