Eshaan Akbar: Not for Prophet
- Brian Donaldson
- 8 August 2017
A flimsy debut that skirts across the big issues
Eshaan Akbar certainly has an intriguing background. Born in the UK to Pakistani / Bangladeshi parents, he was brought up in a household that was permanently divided. They fought over nationality (both countries have an innate distrust of one another) and politics (Akbar's dad was a big trade unionist while his mum couldn't get enough of Margaret Thatcher), but it was clear that his parents wanted him to be a big success in life; though from the evidence he presents, his mum would have preferred him to be a child soldier in a far-off conflict than a stand-up comedian on the British circuit.
There's a confident swagger to Akbar which initially puts you at ease, but soon it's clear that his puffery is less than justified by the material he's got together: the end message is a very vanilla 'hey, just enjoy your life', which actually manages to be counter-productive in its dispiriting emptiness. There's a slickness to Akbar that cements the notion that he is comfortable up there and in full command of the scenario. But this is all surface as his content is disappointingly flimsy when it surely could have told us some greater truths.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, until 27 Aug (not 15), 2.45pm, £9–£10 (£8–£9).