Mawaan Rizwan: Gender Neutral Concubine Pirate

★★★
comedy review | Read in About 2 minutes
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Mawaan Rizwan
Published 19 August 2016

We're greeted by bubbles, lovingly dispatched by Mawaan Rizwan as a gift to selected audience members. This opening sets the tone of a show high on audience interaction that is always leavened by sweetness and frivolity. By the end of it you'll be clear on what constitutes a gender neutral concubine pirate; and whether you want to be one too.

There's a stage, but it's not used. Rizwan is, instead, down in the audience, his manic performance within spitting distance. This is high campery that flits between threatening and absurd, often exhibiting both simultaenously. It turns out he's a magician too, in a glorious bit of silliness that revolves around a quite different kind of trickery. And you might want to hide your drink if you've got one; alternatively, you could sample the homemade wine he whips up there and then.

While there's lots of lunacy to enjoy here, there are also hints at a darker motivation behind it all. The desire for identity fluidity is manifested via the pirate persona and digs at conservative parents splutter through at unexpected moments. It's a shame there isn't more of this splenetic bile. But the inventive deirium is what matters most; after all, there aren't many shows that could get away with not one but two sequences all about baby wipes. This is an energetic and engaging show deserving to be seen by a bigger crowd.