Angry Indian comic Biswa Kalyan Rath is at the Fringe in an experimental mix of stand-up and improv to tell us what annoys him the most about Edinburgh. No, Europe. Nay, the world.

Having shot to fame in India through the YouTube series Pretentious Movie Reviews, Rath has recorded a few Amazon specials and appeared on Comicstaan, along with other Fringe acts Sapan Verma and Urooj Ashfaq. In his debut at the Fringe, Rath presents the peculiarities of life within Edinburgh that refresh our memory if we’ve become accustomed to the city, or brings an outsider’s perspective to the natives. Whether it’s why everyone’s so nice and polite here, why showers in bathtubs are a deathtrap, or how no one’s been even slightly racist to Rath so far (to his disappointment) – his trademark observational style is met with applause and laughs.

It’s surprising that Rath’s content mostly features tales from the very recent past. The main event is actually crowd work. He makes it clear at the beginning that he hates everyone, no matter the colour of their skin. Notorious for his irate delivery, the audience is excited (okay, with an added tinge of fear) to engage with him. A mic is passed along the room as he chats with about a dozen audience members, never forcing but nudging them to share their roots and occupations. When things click, they’re great – he uses the responses as prompts to share fantastic bits from his stand-up repertoire as well as his experiences of dealing with anxiety and depression and receiving a diagnosis of autism. When he’s not able to establish a rapport with the speaker’s response, he often induces a laugh anyway through his physicality and quips and has the show moving along.

It’s precarious work. Most of Rath’s routine depends on the eagerness and pace of the audience. On the other hand, every show contains different material, and it would be interesting to watch how he accumulates his Fringe experiences and ends his run.

‘Live‘ runs until 27 Aug 2023 at Monkey Barrel – The Hive at 14:50