With a bubbly, infectious presence and an innocent on stage charm, Shappi Khorsandi presents an interesting, but at times traumatic portrayal of family life to this year’s comedy festival.

Flanked at all times on stage by the titular family photo, Khorsandi tells about her childhood – first in Iran, and later in England, her experiences growing up with her brother, and now her time as a mother and the kind of wisdom (or damage) she is imparting on her son.

Telling family stories seemed to be a comfortable safe zone for Khorsandi, and it suited her style well. It made for a rather safe show, and the few times it took a darker turn she frowned at the audience and chided us for laughing – probably tongue in cheek, but her gentle comedy style was effective regardless.

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Funny, and at times unpredictable, Shappi flitted from one family story to the other, with little sense of direction. At a few points she relied at members of the audience to remind her where she was up to. Her scattered method of delivery on the night, no matter how genuine, was a bit tedious by the end of the show.

Khorsandi took distractions rather personally (justly interrupting and intruding on any whispered conversations), to the extent that she followed an audience member who left to check that he wasn’t sitting in the bar in an attempt to drag him back. It was unexpected and hilarious in a way, but interrupted what little flow there was.

Shappi Khorsandi in Me and My Brother in Our Pants, Holding Hands is on at the Melbourne Town Hall, Tuesday to Saturday 7pm, Sunday 6pm until April 22nd.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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