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Edinburgh Festival Review – Paul Sinha

Friday, August 20 2010

Some deft story-telling and an eye for winning absurdity makes Paul Sinha's Extreme Anti-White Vitriol a joy, writes Ben Clover.


Paul Sinha

The title of Paul Sinha's show comes from a radio confrontation he had with a senior member of the British National Party. Asked to comment after the far-right party changed their membership policy, the amiable comic ended up being accused of “extreme anti-white vitriol”.

That and a bad experience with some bigots in a high-street comedy club led the former GP to consider whether race relations had actually gone backwards in the decades since his boyhood scout troop invited his parents to an international day.

Given the BNP’s drubbing at the ballot box in May it’s a show with a happy ending. But all along the way Sinha’s deft story-telling and an eye for a winning absurdity makes this hour of comedy a joy.

So despite bringing a pretty weighty topic to the Fringe, the comic and quiz champ wrings room-shaking belly laughs from the crowd. It manages to be thought-provoking while avoiding worthiness.

The show is also cleverly structured to give Sinha the chance for triumphant call-backs that don’t feel contrived. And there’s some quick-witted improvisation as well; while flirting with a white student young enough to be his son, his explanation of the only way he, a gay man, could actually have fathered him was treasurable.

Other topics covered in passing included his perennial datelessness and the distortions of the tabloid press, both familiar subjects given a different spin. Paul Sinha is a star and needs only a fuller house to prove it.

Four stars


Paul Sinha: Extreme Anti-White Vitriol is on at 10.40pm at the Stand, click here for booking.

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