Maria Shehata: Hero
- Murray Robertson
- 22 August 2019
A decent hour about family relationships and one very tense encounter
Maria Shehata describes Hero as an hour of stand-up storytelling, which might be a slightly disingenuous way to lower our expectations. But while there are few big laughs in her show, she's a convivial host, impressively unperturbed by tonight's unfairly quiet audience. Originally from Los Angeles, Shehata moved around quite a lot before finally settling down in London. This nomadic existence, coupled with her minority status as a Coptic Christian (bestowed on her by Egyptian parents), has gifted her the world view of a perpetual outsider.
There's no great through-line in Hero during which she describes life experiences such as the time she waited on Harvey Weinstein (a tense encounter, vividly brought to life). Much of the material focuses on her romantic and familial relationships, most notably her current boyfriend and her father. The latter's slightly overbearing nature is illustrated rather too literally in a recurring gag which needlessly interrupts Shehata's pacing and further tests the patience of this awkward crowd. Overall, this is a pleasant hour to spend with a performer with a unique angle on the world.
Gilded Balloon at Old Tolbooth Market, until 25 Aug, 5.15pm, £6 in advance or donations at the venue.