What: Pig in Japan
Who: Ollie Horn
Where: The BoardRoom at the Griffins Hotel
When: 23rd Feb – 3rd March
Ollie Horn alights the stage with ease, in a traditional stand-up show that tells an untraditional tale of how he relocated from Britain to Japan to work as an academic researcher. Pig in Japan is about a man enticed by the unique opportunity to explore a new country, learn a new language and to immerse himself in a new culture. What Horn didn’t anticipate in the move was to be disillusioned by the lack of acceptance, his struggles with grasping a new language and the new feeling of standing out in a crowd. He humorously retells the common prejudices and micro-aggressions that came with being The Token Foreigner in rural Japan.
Horn acknowledges that before moving to Asia, he didn’t recognise the privilege afforded to him living in Bristol, where he didn’t stand out, or wasn’t entirely unique in appearance or background to his peers. He approaches this topic honestly and tenderly and with self-deprecating humour throughout.
Although Horn arrived solely to further his academic career, he found himself enticed by jobs that he was heinously overqualified to perform. With an optimistic outlook, he took the opportunity his unique appearance afforded him and used it to his advantage. His performance is punctuated by hilarious TV spots and commercials he appeared in during this time, putting his hand up to any role that came his way.
Pig in Japan is a currently a work in progress but still a thoroughly entertaining watch, illustrating his thoughts with anecdotes of ramen, his unexpected love affair with convenience store fried chicken and some insightful biscuit infographics. I came for the Mr Sparkle aesthetics, but stayed for the engaging story Ollie Horn has to tell.