Imran Yusuf: Saint, Sinner, Sufi
- Marissa Burgess
- 12 August 2018
Tackling the big issues in quickfire speed
Finding a lump downstairs (as in the trouser department, not the living room) has made Imran Yusuf evaluate his life so far. Has he really done enough in his 38 years? He initially came to critical attention with his first solo show, An Audience With Imran Yusuf, which garnered an Edinburgh Comedy Award nomination for Best Newcomer in 2010, with its musings largely covering his Muslim background.
He has talked about that subject in later shows, but this year he reckons he's had enough of defending himself, his faith and his culture, feeling that Muslims are still 'sitting at the bottom of the table and could be relegated at any time'.
Despite his assertion, he does tackle being a Muslim to a degree as well as a hell of a lot of common-sense observations about racial harmony too. If it does turn out that he's only got a few months left to live, he's decided that he ought to address some of the fundamental aspects of his life and of British society: prejudice, spirituality, love and finally finding his confidence.
If you can't imagine that he could fit all that into one hour then presumably you've never seen Yusuf perform live. His material is so quickfire that you feel as though you should go back for a second time in case there was something you missed. He takes on these big issues by employing an intelligent, informed and reasonable response. And he brings a humble, centred and realistic response to his own life too. He's resigned to the fact that he can't continue to see the girl he loves because her family won't accept him while he ponders the forgiveness he offers his abusive father. And yet despite the weighty topics, the gags come thick and fast. This is thought-provoking stuff.
The Stand's New Town Theatre, until 26 Aug (not 13 & 14, 20), 5.30pm, £10 (£9).