Isma Almas (3 stars)

This article is from 2009.

Isma Almas

Streams of gags keep this hour ticking over

The burka may be the most debated item of clothing in contemporary British society, but for any modern Muslim stand-up, it’s the equivalent of a comedy open goal. And Bradford’s Isma Almas is not one to slip such a gift past the post. Her warm-up act, Mrs Hussain, walks on and delivers gag after gag about her get-up, virtually hitting the target each time (while the screened ‘Addicted to Love’ spoof is a gem) before allowing the floor to the main act.

Almas’ set is a likeable hour in the company of an able if not startling performer who has a solid story of racism and sexual awakening to tell. Some of her material is predictable (she adds nothing new to the ‘72 virgins waiting in paradise’ stuff) but there are enough surprises up her sleeve to keep things ticking over (not for nothing is the show called Isma Almas Bombs). Cutting down, or even ditching, the over-long, laugh-free Bollywood-style video finale in favour of a couple more strong anecdotes could lift Isma Almas to a higher plane.

The Stand III & IV, 558 7272, until 30 Aug, 2.35pm, £7 (£6).

Isma Almas Bombs

  • 3 stars

'A one-woman antidote to Islamophobia' (Leeds Guide). Buckle up for this hilarious cultural extravaganza of a white knuckle comedy ride. One of the most original and charming circuit comedians expertly annihilates whole herds of sacred cows.

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