Shappi Khorsandi

Note: This review is from 2003

Review by Steve Bennett

"Shappi Khorsandi has finally put Iran on the map," her publicity boasts, possibly underplaying the role of several millennia of cultural achievements and overplaying the impact of a mid-level Fringe comedian.

For those who don't know any better, the perception of Iranians is probably formed by the images from the days when Saddam Hussein was the good guy, of serious-minded ayatollahs angrily demanding death to the infidels.

Shappi isn't quite like that. Instead, she's a frisky ball of friendly energy effortlessly sweeping up audiences in a tornado of gushy enthusiasm.

There's no room for festival lethargy or world-weary cynicism when she's on stage; once she starts chatting away everyone's her playmate, and no one can resist disarming charms.

She's perfectly recreated the experience of listening to a chatty, funny mate; the sort you'd love to have a conversation with if only you could get a word in edgeways.

The material is treated with such a lightness of touch you would be forgiven for thinking it non-existent. She covers her ethnicity, but that's not her only card, as she rabbits away about life, current affairs and the world in general from the vantage point of her shoebox overlooking London's Hangar Lane gyratory system.

She's a dynamic force, cracking through the hour at a breakneck pace. The punchlines come and go, many without leaving any mark on your consciousness.

But everyone comes out feeling like they've had a great time - even if they can't quite remember how.

Review date: 1 Jan 2003
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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