Tez Ilyas: TEZ Talks (3 stars)

This article is from 2015

Tez Ilyas: TEZ Talks

credit: Steve Ullathorne

A plea for tolerance from the heart plus robotic dancing

Even before he takes to the stage, Tez Ilyas has one thing in his favour: a forename that can be utilised for pun after pun. Set up as a sort-of TED Talk (yep, it’s a TEZ Talk) in which the aim is to convert an audience of infidels to Islam, Ilyas tops it all off with his Tez Commandments (see?). Despite having an amusingly patchy beard, he hops on stage confidently in a sharp suit, assuring us that there’s much more to him than looking like an ‘over-enthusiastic Apprentice candidate’ before launching feet-first into his project.

But within this mock conversion course (complete with silly robotic dancing and criticism of shocking grammar on racist graffiti) is a serious topic: Ilyas wonders why he has been made to feel like an outsider in the country he’s called home from day one. At least two people can be spotted wiping tears from their eyes at this heartfelt plea for sanity in a nation riddled with all manner of regressive phobias.

But not to worry, a gag is just around the corner to offset the emotion and things are back on track. TEZ Talks is an assured debut and more can be expected from Ilyas whether he sticks to his central theme or not.

Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 30 Aug (not 17), 7.15pm, £10–£12 (£8–£10).

Tez Ilyas: Made in Britain

Tez presents the follow-up to his debut hour Tez Talks.