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Bitch Got Owned – Fringe 2009

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Corry Shaw

Sajeela Kershi is best known for her appearance in Brendon Burns’s award-winning 2007 show as a stooge audience member who takes offence at his race-based material. Since then she has been racially abused and vilified on YouTube, so her debut Edinburgh solo hour is designed to show us the woman behind the internet clip.

Sadly we don’t get to know too much about Sajeela other than the fact she is Muslim, English and was once married. Kershi complains that a critic has stated that she focuses too much on her ethnicity, but I think the problem actually is that we learn very little about her ethnicity despite the fact the majority of the chat revolves round the words Muslim or ‘Paki’.

She repeatedly excuses failed lines and the silent room by explaining that it is the last day of the run and she just wants to play.

After dancing on to the stage covered with a veil she spends ten minutes finding out each audience member’s name and introducing us to each other. She is an amiable host and obviously enthusiastic about her story, but the narrative takes an age to progress and all to frequently long set-ups meet a dead end and a wall of silence, leaving Kershi to sip from her water and apologise to us again.

She has a couple of sparks of inspiration comparing New Islam to New Labour and a nice turn of phrase about traditional bridalwear, but these are washed down the drain with some cripplingly unfunny material about lions and cats, shoplifting and an astoundingly ill-judged retro visit to Jaffa Cakes.

Kershi could do with seeking help for her writing, as she has some interesting ideas but lacks the ability and experience to expand on them. She has practically ignored the fascinating story of being held hostage for two days and teases us with the briefest glance of this experience, which could surely fill an hour.

With direction and support she could develop the natural charm she possesses into a competent act, but she really needs to do a lot of work before returning with another hour.

Review date: 31 Aug 2009
Reviewed by: Corry Shaw

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