May 29 2016
Established comedian introduces new acts to the fray and shows the future continues to be bright…
By Dimple Pau
STAND UP COMEDY in the Underbelly’s big purple cow brings the feel of the Edinburgh Fringe to the Southbank Centre.
Hosted at the Wonderground, ‘Paul Sinha and Guests’ was a masterclass on how to perform stand up comedy to a multi-cultural audience without losing your roots. As with all shows of this nature, the most interesting discussion points are the ‘ones to watch’. Starting with the compare, Guz Khan.
Guz is an absolute force of nature, and just what mainstream comedy needs right now. The Muslim ex teacher or “wasteman” as he calls himself, gets huge laughs as a cheeky chappie who recalls one of his students selling him weed after Friday prayers at the mosque.
There was also a wonderful improvised moment where momentarily the venue was being circled by a helicopter, and this came as a gift for Guz and the jokes just kept coming. He’s clearly a pro compare, able to keep the audience on their toes, especially with lines like “let’s talk about terrorism to lighten the mood”.
Next up is ex-investment banker, Sindhu Vee. Sindhu performs intelligently pieced together material about family life, children and her husband. There are charming moments from the Oxford graduate, especially a nice bit about telling her daughter there is no Santa Claus, just to get revenge on her husband. Sindhu does need to work on her performance a little: an injection of confidence and a polish of material should do the trick.
Keep up if you can with the wonderful Sameena Zehra who is brassy, intelligent and needs to be elected Prime Minister very soon. Like a bullet, she goes from planning her husband’s funeral in her head to a conversation between God, the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny.
Sameena does the serious stuff without losing sight of the comedy. A very exciting force of nature we’ll be seeing a lot of very soon.
Finally, the headliner ‘Gasian Susan Boyle’ Paul Sinha. Paul is, as expected, incredibly comfortable on stage with perfect delivery. He starts by mentioning he had just come from a gig at the Underbelly, and the discomfort of being Hindu while performing as a cow. Proving that he’s more than ‘that man with the neck’ on ‘The Chase’, he delves into the moment his father takes away the ‘coming out’ moment for Paul by revealing he’s always known his son was gay.
“They’re trying to arrange me a husband”, muses Paul as he goes on to explain why it’s actually not a bad idea. Everything you’d expect from a headline act – and more.
AVC Rating **** (out of five)
The Alchemy Festival at the Southbank Centre continues until May 30: http://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whatson/festivals-series/alchemy
Paul Sinha and guests was staged as part of Alchemy on Monday, May 23