Jeff Mirza: Walking With Muslims
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2003
See Muslim stand up Jeff Mirza's comedy jihad exploring Islam's funny faces. Acting credits: C4's White Teeth and hit film Bend it Like Beckham.
Walking With Muslims is nothing short of a debacle, blighted by technical difficulties, but more seriously let down by appalling writing and desperate performing.
Mirza, often inaudible because of sound problems, kept disappearing from the stage to reappear in various tacky guises, such as the Camp X-Ray suspect who claimed that prisoners were being fed Viagara and tortured by Barry Manilow - references as uninspired as they are dated.
He tried to fill the holes in the material, and get the audience on side, with some banter - but his repetitive, staid replies meant it was doomed to failure and Mirza increasingly realised he was losing the crowd.
He persuaded all the bearded men to stand up for a round of applause and asked practically everyone where they came from and what religious denomination they were. Not so much comedy as a census.
There is the slightest indication that Mirza could be a warm, affable comic, but his dire material just left the audience in stony silence. Safe tales of school and of dope smoking, plus simply changing the words of a rap so it becomes "will the real slim Muslim please stand up" just don't cut it.
His grand finale was scuppered by more technical problems, with the wrong soundtrack blasting from the speakers. He tried to get this going three times, all without success.
When he finally gave up, the audience gave a collective sigh of relief and left by the nearest exit.