Omar Hamdi: In the Valleys of the Kings
Gender stereotypes and repetitive material from Fringe newcomer
This article is from 2015.
Giving this Fringe newcomer a bad review feels a bit like drop kicking a puppy. A puppy that’s possibly clinically depressed. (Then again, the puppy is also charging £12 for tickets, and trying to make it as a professional funnyman.) Welsh-Egyptian Hamdi tries so hard in this debut show, filling us in on his upbringing, his absent father, his first visit to Egypt, his absent father, his clinginess with girls, his crisis of masculinity, his lack of role models, his absent father. You get the idea.
While he does make a good gag about being scared of dying alone, and having to flyer his own funeral to get people to show up, there’s no punchline when he confesses straight-faced that he needs approval from strangers, nor is there when he says he’s had suicidal thoughts. Although he (falsely) describes one of his sections as ‘radical anthropology’ and another as ‘overly-intellectualised’, he never really digs below the nervous surface of his act, instead polishing and repolishing a veneer of bad gender stereotypes and repetitive material. Dysfunction and awkwardness could be the makings of a great set if he veered away from the more hackneyed comedy tropes, it just doesn’t seem fully baked yet.
Assembly George Square Studios, 623 3030, until 30 Aug, 10.20pm, £10–£12 (£8–£10).