Kai Samra: Underclass (4 stars)

This article is from 2019

Kai Samra: Underclass

A tough and emotional debut hour that still finds room for laughs

It's been a long hard road for Kai Samra to get up on stage for his Fringe debut, and Underclass is a genuine and moving testament to hard endeavour and battling the odds. Growing up with a single parent after an arranged marriage goes wrong, he hero-worships his older brother Ari, but when the latter's attempts to better his and the family's situation fail at the hands of bigots, he disappears without trace, leaving Kai isolated and alone.

So far, so depressing, but there's more to come as we hear about Samra's attempts to break into the comedy world also being thwarted by a racist remark from a well-known comedian (unnamed here) that is casual to the white people in the near vicinity, but devastating to the over-hearing Samra. Throw in his experiences of living rough and you're probably wondering where the laughs might reside in this show.

Fear not, as Samra picks the right moments to relieve the tension and lift the audience off the floor. The final section (featuring video footage) revolves around his recent interview with Tommy Robinson for Vice, an event which Samra is able to loop into his central point about childhood experiences leaving you bitter for life unless you fight back against them. Kai Samra is a fighter and he's produced an Edinburgh debut that is bruising but which still leaves room for big laughs.

Pleasance Courtyard, until 25 Aug, 7pm, £11–£12 (£10–£11).

Kai Samra: Underclass

  • 4 stars

Soho Theatre Award-winning stand-up comedian Kai Samra presents his hotly tipped debut hour. Join Kai as he hilariously dissects life as a young, working class, British Asian in the 21st Century – from police stop-and-searches to a complete lack of options at fancy dress parties. He reflects on personal stories of…