Shappi Khorsandi: Carry On Shappi

Note: This review is from 2007

Review by Steve Bennett

Shappi Khorsandi is getting a lot of publicity this year for being the most pregnant act on the festival, at eight-and-a-half months. She claims it’s a miscalculation and she really oughtn’t to be here, but she seems to love chatting on stage so much, she would surely do a show while in labour if she could: Dilate And Live, maybe?

In last year’s breakthrough show, this Anglo-Iranian stand-up spoke of Ayatollahs and asylum-seekers, this year it’s more likely to be guinea pigs and baby names. Carry On Shappi is a softer, less insightful, offering – although it does slowly move into more interesting areas such as the latent racism she encountered at school, and sometimes still does, or the opium smoking rife among her father’s generation of Iranians.

It’s a gently liberal, middle-class agenda, imparted with exquisite charm. Very Radio 4 – whose well-meaning but misguided attempts to portray the Middle East in drama just happen to be another topic for mild ribbing. She knows her upmarket audience – which other comics insist on an understated floral display on set? – and that they will understand the reference.

Nothing’s ever attacked with any ferocity, Khorsandi’s far too polite and well brought-up for that. Sometimes she will be tongue-in-cheek mean – her unborn child bears the brunt of the funniest of it – but you never suspect that she secretly means any of it.

Her delivery is genuinely delightful, warm, friendly and with a streak of girlish cheekiness. When she’s on stage, it genuinely feels like an engaging one-on-one conversation, albeit one-sided.

The show, understandably, works better when there’s more substance behind the charm, and the first half, especially, is lacking in that. But she’s such lovely company, it’s forgiven.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

Review date: 1 Jan 2007
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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