Wednesday 08th July

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Nazeem Hussain: Hussain In The Membrane review

Rating:

Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer

An entertaining, if slightly unoriginal, take on life as a Western Muslim by a likeable, relaxed comedian. 

Together with depression and Brexit, Islam – more precisely, Islamophobia – is one of stand-up comedy’s hottest topics right now.  The likes of Shazia Mirza and Tez Ilyas already riff on this theme to distinction.  Now Nazeem Hussain, an Australian of Sri Lankan heritage, is trying to show he’s a worthy addition to this group.

Hussain’s built a strong reputation Down Under for his witty observations on life as a Muslim in Melbourne: through stand-up, as part of double-act Fear of a Brown Planet; on TV with his own comedy sketch show, Legally Brown; and as a popular radio host on Triple J.  And it’s easy to see why.  He’s an engaging, natural performer who largely – but not completely – steers clear of the over-done ‘I get a seat on a train by holding a rucksack and the Koran’ brand of jokes.

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Category: Comedy
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Sarah Kendall: Shaken review

Rating:

Ian Cater, Chief Features Writer

Despite being an excellent storyteller and multi-award winning comedian, Kendall can’t quite harmonise the two in her new show about the serious consequences of lying.

Shaken begins with Sarah Kendall giving a window into her therapy sessions, to illustrate she’s a flawed human being who feels a constant need to entertain.  That is, she’s a comedian.  Then, as the therapist begins to lose patience with her constant joking and evasion, Kendall’s put on the spot and asked to explain why she’s the way she is.

This moves into the main part of the show, in which Kendall answers her therapist by talking about an incident that happened in her home town of Newcastle, New South Wales, in 1989.  It’s a quiet place, polarised between the onscreen action in the local cinema and the mundanity of life in the adjoining carpark and beyond.  “If Ferris Bueller had been set in my town,” she says, “he’d have smoked a bong, had a wank and gone back to bed.”

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Category: Comedy