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British Theatre Guide

Having previously brought the story of Paul Robeson to the Edinburgh Fringe in 2010, Tayo Aluko returns with a new piece of song-laden historical theatre to tantalise theatregoers.

In the case of Just An Ordinary Lawyer, Aluko has chosen to regale us with the fascinating story of Tunji Sowande, the first African judge in British history.

It's a play that has a deep appreciation rooted in the two great private passions of Sowande's life: song and cricket. While Aluko's credentials in the singing department hardly need mentioning, his ability to make cricket sound vaguely interesting was a truer success than many.

Throughout the tale, we are always resoundlingly brought home by the lawyer's love of the sport and his angers and joys throughout the length of the D'Olivera affair and the subsequent Black Power Salute at the 1968 Olympics.

It's also refreshing that, whilst championing his many accomplishments, the play never shies away from the failures in Sowande's life, most notably his decision to favour his career over his family and the resultant feud that grows from that decision.

In the end, this is another triumph from Aluko and, while not quite matching the immediacy and visceral impetus of Call Mr Robeson, it is a story of triumph over bigotry that thrills and touches.

Reviewer: Graeme Strachan
Reviewed: August 2016

Rating: 9/10

It can take a single moment to make a person’s life seem insignificant, to put down all their achievements with a dismissive sign of arrogance, of misplaced racial or gender inequality or presumed superiority, it can take that moment to possibly change that person’s life forever. Sometimes it can be though for the good as they strive on in their goal to become the better person, the one with ideals, honour and purpose in the community. Sometimes one just wishes to be an ordinary man, sometimes you become exceptional as Just an Ordinary Lawyer.

The life of the first Black Judge in England, Tunji Sowande, was one in which as a human being it is impossible not to reach out and be glad that the Nigerian born Queen’s Counsel made his way to London after World War Two in the hope of bettering himself and to pave the way for others to be inspired by him. Encountering extreme innate prejudice along the way but determined to enjoy life, to watch cricket and bring joy to others with his passion for singing, this very determined man changed his life and those around him forever.

Tayo Aluko is no stranger to bringing the lives of prominent black men to the stage, his acclaimed show Calling Mr. Robeson was a smash hit and deeply admired wherever he took it, yet this performance is something else, it seems somehow more relevant, possibly because it is so steeped and engrained in the British way of life. The sense of fair play that we try to install in our children, even if we have lost it ourselves, the message never more pertinent as refugees escaping persecution attempt to make a better life in the country and of course the love of cricket which can be spoken of in gentle thoughts of reminiscence, the memory of great players to whom fair play was essential.

Mr. Aluko may have only been performing this particular play for the first few times whilst in Edinburgh but the greatness of the man, both in the portrayal and in the actor himself, stands out, it radiates a welcome of cool, of respect that comes from the audience to both Mr. Aluko and his pianist Gus Carmichael as they entertain with absolute authority in this gripping monologue, punctuated with the absorbing singing voice that the actor displays with outstanding gravitas.

Just an Ordinary Lawyer is a superb play; a memoir of dedication from one great and inspiring man from another, Tayo Aluko always reaches out beyond the ordinary.

Reviewer: IAN D HALL
Reviewed: 11th August 2016
Rating: 9/10


Just an Ordinary Lawyer is written and performed by the immensely talented Tayo Aluko. The play charts the life of Tunji Sowande, a Nigerian who pursues his life dream of studying and practising law in London. The narrative is enhanced by the use of two of Tunji’s great loves – cricket and music, and if you like cricket you will love the picture painted of Basil D’Oliveira’s innings against Australia and the West Indies test match against England. Much of the tale is set in the late 60s, a tumultuous time in racial politics and sport was a perfect battleground for the fight to be played out. Although Tunji incurs bigotry at the start of his career he is often a bystander to the ongoing racial conflict. However, by the end of the play, we realise that he has also been able to fight back in his own way and that his pursuit of his career and social standing has not been without pain.

This was an immensely enjoyable 90 minutes. Tayo Aluko has a beautiful singing voice and I could almost hear the sighs of pleasure from the cricket fans in the audience. The length of the play did mean a few of the audience had to run off before the end – so make sure you leave plenty of time to get to your next venue!

Reviewed by Rona
Reviewed: 18th August 2016

Tayo Aluko and Friends

Just an Ordinary Lawyer

Just an Ordinary Lawyer @spotlites @edfringe

book tickets for edinburgh fringe festival
Box office for :- Thurs 4th, Sat 6th, Mon 8th, Fri 12th, Sun 14th, Tues 16th, Thurs 18th Sat 20th Aug

book tickets for edinburgh fringe festival
Box office for :- Weds 10th, Weds 24th, Fri 26th, Sun 28th Aug

Preview: Thurs 4th - 2.35pm
Sat 6th - 2.35pm
Mon 8th - 2.35pm
Weds 10th - 8.05pm
Fri 12th - 2.35pm
Sun 14th - 2.35pm
Tues 16th - 2.35pm
Thurs 18th - 2.35pm
Sat 20th - 2.35pm
Weds 24th - 5.55pm
Fri 26th - 5.55pm
Sun 28th - 5.55pm

(1 hour 20 mins)

From England

Nigerian Tunji Sowande quietly breaks through multiple barriers to become Britain’s first black judge in 1978.

He is also a fine singer and keen cricket lover.
Finding himself stranded in the heart of the Empire, he muses on international politics and history from the point of view of one who would rather watch sports, and spread love and peace through the medium of song.

From the writer and performer of the international multi award-winning hit, Call Mr Robeson ('First-rate' **** – Guardian),
comes another 'brilliantly put together history lesson delivered as art' (

Just an Ordinary Lawyer @spotlites @edfringe

Performer's website



Preview Thurs 4th: £5

Mon - Fri: £9 (£7 Concession) (£24 family of 4)

Sat - Sun: £10 (£8 Concession) (£28 family of 4)

Group discount: 10% off for groups of 10+
2for1 on Mon 8th & Tues 9th

Friends of Fringe: 2 for 1 anytime – only available from Fringe Box Office

book tickets for edinburgh fringe festival
Box office for :- Thurs 4th, Sat 6th, Mon 8th, Fri 12th, Sun 14th, Tues 16th, Thurs 18th Sat 20th Aug

book tickets for edinburgh fringe festival
Box office for :- Weds 10th, Weds 24th, Fri 26th, Sun 28th Aug


Venue 278. 22-26 George Street. EH2 2EP
Venue Box Office: 0131 240 2784

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