Reviewer: Matt Forrest
On the day that Theresa May announces when Britain will begin the formal ‘Brexit’ negotiations, it seems rather fitting that Nish Kumar is performing his latest stand-up show: Actions Speak Louder Than Words, Unless You Shout the Words Real Loud, which having been written shortly after the EU referendum has a great deal to say about Britain and its inhabitants.
The show opens with Kumar taking us on a personal journey through his gig going back catalogue, which includes the likes of David Bowie and Prince. The gigs have something common: Kumar attended them by himself and also involve a sudden rush of blood to the head for the young Kumar, which leads to a great deal of embarrassment for completely different reasons. Material based around the drummer in Coldplay and the Spice Girls sees a fine first half draw to a close.
The crux of the show sees Kumar take a look at what in his view is the problem with the world in general: rich white men messing it up for everyone. From the gentrification of certain areas major towns and cities right through to colonial Britain and the slave trade: Kumar hits us with some astonishing statistics about how the British Government of the early 1800s helped bail out slave traders (luckily enough,there is a history professor on hand to support Kumar).
Kumar makes an impassioned plea that he is proud to be British and of Britain, which shines through in his material. This is a thought-provoking, intelligent, sharp show delivered with passion: it highlights some of the negative elements of Britain today, but these are far outweighed by positives, highlighted by Kumar being racially abused at his first gig the night after the independence vote. The audience that night rallied around and showed their support for Kumar and disgust at the prejudice he faced: which fits in with the early Bowie and Prince material.
Kumar’s main strength is that he is instantly likeable; he builds up a good rapport with his audience. The material could come across as ‘preachy’ and self-righteous but Kumar manages to keep it entertaining yet provocative. This is a well-polished, crafted routine that ticks all the boxes for what a stand-up show should be, and is well worth a watch.
Reviewed on 2October2016 | Image: Contributed