Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh
August, 2002

*** Gentle observational Asian comedy duo

British-born Asian Chris Ryman and Pakistani Rehan Sheikh wryly send up their experiences in showbusiness and culture in general.

British-Asian theatre company Tamasha have succumbed to the realities of the Fringe by bringing up a comedy show rather than their accustomed drama. Ryman and the Sheikh are supposedly undertaking a roadshow for the British-Asian cable TV channel they jointly front; anecdotes about their respective upbringings and showbiz experiences are interspersed with plugs for the station's evening schedules, which are either Pakistani TV serials featuring Sheikh or the like of a cookery programme entitled "Halal, I Must Be Going". Over an hour, the standard double-act trajectory is followed: the pair begin by discreetly ribbing each other, build up to all-out conflict and then are reconciled.

Ryman's persona is that of a ducking-and-diving Brit-Asian who tries too hard to be hip. Even as parody, it's a bit over-indulged for my taste. The serene self-confidence of the Sheikh works to much greater effect for far less energy. The duo come briefly unstuck when an audience Q&A session takes a while to warm up, but it's a testimony to their abilities that they do indeed get us working with them. As always with Tamasha, entertainment and insight go together.

Written for divento.com

Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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