Paul Sinha: Aspects of Love, Actually

Note: This review is from 2006

Review by Steve Bennett

As an overweight, gay, Begali doctor, Paul Sinha's decision not to exploit any of those adjectives to hit a certain Fringe demographic is a bold one. Instead, he tells us, he wanted to discover whether he could use his first hour-long show for a topic he feels genuinely passionate about.

The good news is, he can; the bad news is that in choosing an hour-long deconstruction of all the inanities in Richard Curtis's latest blockbuster, he's ended up with subject matter isn't all that appealing ­ as proven by his dismal box office figures.

What Sinha has proved is that he can easily hold an audience's attention. He chats away naturally, even though he's working through carefully scripted material, demonstrating a impressive level of stand-up performance.

The problem is the subject. I've never seen Love, Actually ­ but the consensus seems to be that it's a slushy, romantic but utterly harmless piece of nonsense. If you like it, why would you want to spend an hour having it ripped to bits? If you didn't, then you're unlikely to want to invest more time and money in hearing any more about it.

Sinha makes a convincing argument about Curtis's exploitative use of September 11, his festering attitude to fat people (by which the film means the perfectly well-proportioned Martine McCutcheon), his portrayal of inner-city London as a homogenous mass of middle-class white people, his crushing insensitivity and illogical plot flaws.

Problem is you could apply any film to this sort of severe analysis, and it would fall apart once you don't suspend your disbelief. There's nothing especially clever about Sinha's material here, he's just made some cynical observations and delivered it with conviction and passion.

However, he has achieved one first with this show. It's the first hour of stand-up to be prompted by a disagreement on Chortle's forums; it being Sinha's considered response to the backlash he received when he ventured his negative opinions about the film on this very website.

Review date: 1 Jan 2006
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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