BWW Review: KAI SAMRA: UNDERCLASS, Soho Theatre
At the very least, Kai Samra's comedy hits home with how embarrassing the state of things are in Britain right now. From a council bin for sharp items - a futile attempt to lower knife crime - adorned with everyone's favourite everyman, the Cookie Monster, to the BEST fact, that Tommy Robinson once owned a tanning salon.
Samra's tidy meander through his personal history connects his tricky family politics (which led to his temporary homelessness a few years ago) to the wider political landscape in the UK. Aside from the more sinister side of his growing up, he seems to attract the most sensational stories. His cousin, in school, was rivals with her classmate Malala Yousafzai.
With Malala. Yousafzai.
His social commentary is never heavy-handed: Samra finds the humour in current affairs in an exceptionally elegant way. His first-hand familiarity with the realities of poverty, racism (he is British-Asian) and being working-class fuels an articulate criticism of our society.
Comedy, he says, is an industry that prides itself on being the "perfect meritocracy". But he unravels this in seconds, highlighting the unquenchable elitism that still drives it. The odds were stacked against this comedian - but here he is, and I'm so glad.
You will laugh: which is the point, right? But this show reaches beyond the superficial. The nuance is next level. Some of the punchlines are a little rough around the edges, perhaps not as clever as his dissection of the arts, but what a debut show.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Birch