Star rating: **
Soho Downstairs, Soho Theatre
Mon 9 – Thu 12 mar, 9.30p.m.
Review: Tuesday 10th March 2015
Booking and further information
£15 (£12.50) Mon-Wed, £17.50 (£15) Thu
After selling out his run at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and his run here at Soho Theatre last summer, Aamer Rahman, one half of award-winning cult comedy duo Fear of a Brown Planet, returns with his solo show ‘The Truth Hurts’.
This is no departure – politics, racism, the War on Terror. Same themes, harder line. The proverbial bull in a china shop, Rahman blatantly treads the most delicate of lines. This is confronting, uncompromising political comedy at its best – and designed to hit hard.
Besides selling out his last season at Soho last year, Rahman has supported legendary comic Dave Chappelle as well as performing a sold-out tour of the US, and was named one the Guardian’s top 10 shows of 2014.
This ain’t no tea party, but it’s a guaranteed good-time ticket. Don’t miss it.
Tiemo Talk of the Town review
Aamer Rahman looks like a rapper and in true rap style the blurb for the show (above) makes hard hitting, cocky boasts about what he’s going to do to you on stage. Delivering “politics, racism, the War on Terror… The proverbial bull in a china shop, Rahman blatantly treads the most delicate of lines. This is confronting, uncompromising political comedy at its best – and designed to hit hard.”
Hmmm. The truth is Aamer Rahman did hit you with hard hitting topics, but unfortunately they lacked heavyweight punch lines and frequently missed their target. I actually thought he was American judging by the promotion for the show, but he’s in fact Australian.
There were some good observations and ironic jokes re the Woolwich murder of Lee Rigby, not of course applauding it, but some strange and in hindsight funny things happened on that day which he recalled on stage. There were observations re how Muslims watch the news and dread when an atrocity happens that it could be that it’s a Muslim who was responsible. I liked that and it drew big laughs. Black comedians make similar observations about how they watch or listen to the news, hoping it’s “not that Black guy that did it.”
There were too many jokes featuring obscure references to films, TV programmes and Australian politics that I and many of the audience were unaware of. The audience, I have to say though, comprising largely Asian 20-30 some things seemed to be loving a lot of his jokes. However, even their laughter lessened as the show went on. 60 minutes was far too long. 30-40 minutes would have been preferable for this newcomer to the British comedy scene.
What was missing was audience engagement. It felt like he was talking at us not to us. He could significantly improve the show by interacting with his audience more, asking their opinion, for their contribution. What for him may have been interesting stories I’m afraid were not so for us and he failed to find the funny in far too many of his stories. It’s fine to do political comedy. With a general election in the offing I’m all for that, but a comedian must never forget that first and foremost he or she is on stage to make people laugh. If they wish to use their platform to make political points that’s their prerogative and all well and good, but they mustn’t forget to keep it light at times and throw in the odd joke or two!
Some people walked out of the show after 10 minutes or so. Namely, most of the white men sitting at the back of the theatre did. I guess his show wasn’t especially targeted at that demographic and “the man” did come in for some stick.
I think it’s a tough job coming to perform in London from another country and it can take a while to get the feel for the place and what will work. I’m sure Aamer can learn from this experience and come back stronger next time.
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