Writer: Pariah Khan
Director: Eduardo Gama
Reviewer: James Garrington
We all know about the gap year when students take a break from studies to travel the world and experience exotic places. It’s often perceived as a Western thing – but what would happen if an Indian student took a year out to visit the exotic island of Great Britain?
Written and performed by Pariah Khan, An Indian Abroad provides sixty minutes of stand-up comedy monologue describing the adventures of Krishnan as he travels to the UK to learn about himself and escape his stifling middle-class life. Here he hopes to follow his dreams, visit his holy place (Old Trafford) and maybe fall in love with a native.
Khan has a good facility for voices – from the outset when he is relating conversations held with his family before he leaves he switches between characters with ease. His observational comedy is very good too, identifying and pointing out things about the people around him that we can all recognise, and like all good comedians exaggerating those traits just enough to be comic.
Khan’s script is very funny, full of good ideas but also essential is good delivery and timing – and while his delivery works well, sometimes his timing could do with tightening up. One or two of the pauses are just a little too long, and the scene-setting is often rather laboured, with time being taken to precisely place chairs with no obvious reason why they need to be quite that accurately positioned. This is possibly to give time for Khan to gather his thoughts – an hour’s monologue is hard work without a few seconds respite – but it does slow things down which is a shame.
After a lot of good work during the performance, some attention should be paid to the ending. After an excellent anecdote about an encounter with the EDL, the piece just stops abruptly with a sudden blackout. However, it’s worth seeing if you’re at a loose end and fancy seeing something short and a bit different. Khan is a good writer, and An Indian Abroad shows great promise though it’s not quite there yet.
Runs Until 19 January 2019 and on tour | Image: Lorna Foster