Tallulah’s Wine Bar, Saltaire
Nick Ahad’s one man comedy show is a skilful combination of clever storytelling, edgy humour and social commentary. In the opening stages he explains that he was inspired to write the show well over a decade ago when Jade Goody first came to public attention as a contestant on C4’s Big Brother and he goes on to argue that she has played a significant part – directly or indirectly – in the normalisation of the kind of toxic national discourse we are so familiar with today. He began to develop the idea all those years ago but then… he got distracted by other things. Namely, scriptwriting on Emmerdale, writing his own stage plays, becoming a local radio presenter and pitching a TV script in Hollywood. His most recent distraction has been stand-up comedy and with that came the opportunity to revive the Jade Goody story… but, he asks, is it still relevant? It’s a slick conceit and it works well – as a playwright and scriptwriter Ahad knows how to structure a narrative. Like all good comedy there are serious points to be made – racism, identity politics, prejudice and Brexit are all dealt with head-on – and Ahad’s astute observation and righteous anger ensure that they hit home. All this is interlaced with witty anecdotes about his days as a junior reporter in Wiltshire, some of the more Partridge-esque moments of his local radio career and that trip to LA. The way in which the central story is turned on its head in the latter stages is neatly done, with a clever twist that exposes the kind of unconscious bias we are all guilty of and leaves the audience with the thought that we might all learn something by being a bit kinder and listening to each other. Relevant, resonant – and very funny.
4/5 Yvette Huddleston