Review: Sameena Zehra – Homicidal Pacifist

sameena zehra

Originally published for The Skinny.

Describing herself as a pacifist trying to suppress her homicidal side, Sameena Zehra returns to the Fringe this year with a show based around her desire to cull most of the human race. She suggests that we come up with a questionnaire that everyone must take to decide who should be culled or not. She encourages us to share our opinions on who should have to take the test, with contributions including UKIP, journalists and people who stop in the middle of the street.

There is a very clear political slant in much of Zehra’s comedy, as she discusses the state of world politics and tries to convince a member of the audience to change her view on Scottish independence. There are times where you feel like you are just watching a woman rant about everything she hates in the world, but Zehra’s articulation of her undying hatred of all these things is incredibly funny and you often find yourself relating to every word she is saying. Zehra is undoubtedly an incredibly intelligent woman and is able to voice her opinions on modern society in a very interesting and funny way.

Towards the end of the show, Zehra announces that half of the money made from each ticket will be donated to MAP – Military Aid for Palestinians – and flyers telling you a bit more about the organisation are laid out for you to pick up as you leave. This is a very thought-provoking, intellectual hour of comedy.


Review: Alistair Green – Nobody’s Twisting Your Arm

alistair green

Originally published for The Skinny.

Alistair Green spends most of his show talking about his own personal failings and declares that he has pretty much given up. Some of his stories are very funny, some are a bit depressing and some you just don’t need to know.

Not seeming entirely comfortable on the stage, Green spends a great deal of the performance shaking and adjusting the microphone stand; but while he may not appear that confident in his demeanour, he does not seem at all unconfident when it comes to telling his jokes. Perhaps sharing a little bit too much sometimes, Green really opens up to the audience about some pretty embarrassing incidents and some of his experiences in his past jobs, as well as moaning about some of the things that annoy him. The only moments where Green’s jokes really fall flat are the few attempts he makes at ‘lad humour,’ which really don’t sound right coming from a 38-year-old man who clearly has better jokes in him than that.

Green’s comedy is generally quite self-deprecating but clearly very tongue in cheek, so although some of his stories seem a bit grim, he manages to put a clever twist on them and turn them into funny anecdotes. Where he really does shine is in his ability to be completely open about his own downfalls in life – and his genuine bafflement at his own behaviour often makes for the funniest moments in the show.

Review: Abigoliah Schamaun – It’s Pronounced Abigoliah Schamaun

abigoliah schamaun

Originally published for The Skinny.

As far as crowds at a comedy show go, this was perhaps the most diverse I have been amongst and Abigoliah Schamaun certainly noticed it too, joking that we perfectly fit her target demographic of 20-something year old women and 60-something year old men.

Schamaun’s fifth show at the Fringe delves in to her childhood and deconstructs the moments that have made her who she is today, with visual props from a file her late father put together documenting her life, including a bizarre psychological evaluation from when she was just eight years old. Taking the audience on a journey from her childhood in to her adulthood, Schamaun fills the show with plenty of hilarious stories about her school days, her sex life and moving from Kentucky to New York and, more recently, to London. However, there are also some pretty emotional moments throughout, particularly when Schamaun discusses her family, which really draw you in and make it more than just another stand-up comedy show.

Although Schamaun may appear slightly intimidating at first, she has a really good rapport with the audience and at no point do you feel uncomfortable watching her, even when she is talking about some pretty explicit sexual experiences – although I can’t speak for the group of 60-something year old men, who clearly didn’t know what they had let themselves in for. Schamaun is a fearless, no-holds-barred kind of comedian, who clearly isn’t bothered about sharing even her most embarrassing stories as long as she is making people laugh.