Esther Manito: Crusade
- Brian Donaldson
- 25 August 2019
A mixed heritage makes for a unique comedic sensibility
As a frank and confident British-Arabic woman, Esther Manito is all-too familiar with getting stick from all sides. Her show is a plea for some tolerance, and a recognition that both the undiluted bigotry of the Western alt-right, and the misogyny inherent in some Middle Eastern cultures need to be questioned at every turn. Yet in her stories of performing comedy in an EDL pub and her experience of playing on a mixed bill at the Dubai Opera House, she spots some evidence that beneath the masks of dogmatism can lie human emotions and people with the ability to change.
It's certainly an upbeat message that we are left with after an hour which portrays a comic who has plenty life behind her to draw inspiration from and, given she is a relative newcomer to stand-up, an act that seems to be a very quick learner. Manito casually mentions smear tests but obsesses wildly over a thoroughly awful mum she can't avoid on the school run. Her own mother is a no-nonsense Geordie while her father is a laconic Lebanese, with her own comedy identity an obvious merging of her joint heritage.
For a debut show, Crusade proves Esther Manito to be an astute observer of everyday daftness as well as being able to tackle the bigger issues with wit and guile.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, until 25 Aug, 4pm, £12 (£10).