Sikisa: Hear Me Out | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review
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Sikisa: Hear Me Out

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

Following up her 2022 debut hour about being life and soul of the party, here Sikisa Bostwick-Barnes reveals some of the vulnerability behind that confident, booty-shaking front.

This year was supposed to be a fallow year for her romantically, as she'd assigned celibacy to the mood board of her new year's resolutions. But she still ended up at a sex party, and frustrated at being ghosted by the singer in a rock band.

The first event proved too chatty for her, which is saying something given Sikisa's love of gossip, while the shut-down relationship was obviously not vociferous enough.

But despite her twin professions of stand-up comic and immigration lawyer, the comic otherwise known as 'Twix' has always struggled with words. The narrative impetus for Hear Me Out is the adult diagnosis of dyslexia she got this year, too late she rages, for her to possibly do anything with.

And yet, despite the financial outlay and the intensity of the diagnosis, it has made sense of plenty of things retrospectively, her abiding love of emo music for example, articulating so many of the exasperations she can't express, even if it probably ought to be the preserve of sad white boys.

Her love of superhero fiction too. Where the condition does seem particularly influential and, where one might speculate that it's driven her to high achievement in jobs fundamentally built on speaking, is the extent to which she's been masking from a young age, hiding her insecurities, and yes, developing a flair for lying.

A burner social media account she keeps to cyberstalk her exes has been repurposed to sockpuppet her mother's indiscreet positing on Facebook, the better to channel the flow of juicy scuttlebutt to her directly. The tangled webs we weave.

Caught in one particularly bad fib at school, having boasted that she could play an instrument she had never even attempted, somehow letting the situation escalate till she was stood on stage in a spotlight, Sikisa shifted focus and styled it out. Her brain's compensatory talent for mimicry saved the day and taught her a lesson. Not about over-extending yourself but how to use your body and physically perform when words fail you.

Because the comic has another vocation, that of burlesque act. If one were being cynical, one might say that the powerhouse display of dancing with which she closes her show, channelling Beyoncé, is an attempt at distraction from an undercooked, underwritten hour which struggles to draw all its disparate threads together.

Still, there's no denying that it's a memorable spectacle, of body positivity and of female empowerment, of pivoting to reframe any conversation so that you're in command and in control. Hear Me Out is not the best showcase of Sikisa's varied, considerable talents, but showcasing them it is.

Review date: 26 Aug 2023
Reviewed by: Jay Richardson
Reviewed at: Monkey Barrel Comedy Club

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