Sameena Zehra: Homicidal Pacifist

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A well-drilled and knowledgeable hour on politics, religion and gender.

Image of Sameena Zehra: Homicidal Pacifist

@ The Stand, Edinburgh, until Sun 30 Aug 2015 @ 13:20

Zehra’s well-drilled set is based on the notion that, even as a pacifist, she feels the world could benefit if some of its inhabitants were culled. She has a fair idea who she’d like marked for extinction too. It’s a platform that allows her to expound on socialism, feminism, solidarity and global politics in a convinced, determined manner.

Early material relies on rather dated targets – George Bush, Pistorious, Savile – or topics that have worn thin from overuse – religion’s stance on gays. It’s also delivered with a certainty that verges on the casual, as if it’s been used a few too many times before.

But the heavier she gets into politics, the more vital the set becomes, giving the impression that this is what she really wants to get across; those easy gags are just a way into the meatier stuff. There’s a nice take on the Charlie Hebdo incident, and an educative segment about the tensions at work in Indian society; Zehra shows deep knowledge and passion about her subjects. Moments of silence suggest its a bit much for some of the lunchtime audience, but that’s a reflection on the way the Fringe can mismatch audience and performer, not a slight on the material.

Obviously a more than capable club comic, her set maybe lacks the zing of innovation for an ideal Fringe hour, but it’s a strong routine that holds the weight of her politics well. You’ll know yourself whether it’s the kind of politics you want to hear.