Sukh Ojla’s debut solo show at the Edinburgh Fringe gets off to a promising start. She is energetic, engaging and has just enough audience interaction to take them along with her but not so much that it starts to become uncomfortable, a downfall of many a comedy star.
She takes us straight into the common pitfalls of being of what she terms, ‘the Asian persuasion,’ educating her largely white audience that privacy in the home is a privilege which belongs only to white people, something she had to learn all over again having moved back in with her parents. There are also bad Tinder dates, body image issues and the struggles of being in her mid-thirties with no marriage on the horizon (much to her mother’s disappointment). Up until now it is all very safe although certainly funny.
And then, the audience are taken on a journey to Barcelona with Ojla who, in a bid to manage her depression and anxiety, decided to try ayahuasca, a hallucinogenic drug which aims to heal people of their ills. It comes with great risks and these risks, and the ‘visions’ Ojla sees and experiences on her retreat are what make up the bulk of the show.
There is no arguing that it is a fascinating tale but there is obviously a very serious side to what Ojla is discussing and the laughs become more infrequent as she explores what she learnt on her spiritual journey. It is interesting but if bums on seats are expecting a full-blown comedy show it doesn’t really provide the laugh a minute people may be looking for. That said, she is a consummate storyteller and has a stage presence which is perhaps evidence of her new found confidence.