Imran Yusuf: Roar of the Underdog
Satirical rant that’s both mature and non-preachy
This article is from 2014.
Since he was last at the Fringe in 2011 tackling the image of Muslims in the West, Imran Yusuf has shed the shiny suits, moved to a more intimate venue and upped the ante on political and social issues. Born in Africa to Indian parents, Yusuf was raised Muslim and lives in England. Standing firmly in this multicultural background, he takes a left-wing swipe at contemporary racial, religious and cultural tensions with everything from the charity industry’s insidious perpetuation of capitalism to Indian call centres coming under his satirical scrutiny.
Managing to be thought-provoking without being preachy and, mindful of not wanting to lecture, he throws in enough personal perspective to balance the ranting. This works especially well when he uses a collective ‘we’ when it calls into question which aspect of his identity he is claiming. In this way, the material works best, and avoids didacticism, when he leaves topics open-ended. There is something incongruous, though, in his approach to feminism and women.
In a well-conceived hour, Yusuf encourages the audience to ‘think and feel guilty’. That he does so without sacrificing the laughs, and by somehow involving Jackie Chan, is testament to him maturing as a performer.
Underbelly, Bristo Square, 0844 545 8252, until 25 Aug (not 17), 6.50pm, £10-£11 (£9-£10).