Review: Sami Abu Wardeh: Bedu

A likeable debut that includes an hour of character clowning

comedy review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Sami Abu Wardeh
Photo by Dylan Woodley
Published 17 Aug 2022

You do wonder if comedians ever think about the actual logistics of staging a Fringe show, while they’re putting them together – the famously tight clear-up times afterwards, for example. So much mess, so few minutes.

The debris from Sami Abu Wardeh’s likeable debut includes numerous roll-up cigarettes centre-stage and plum tomatoes in all sorts of other nooks and crannies, due to the audience being encouraged to toss them at him. Yes cherry tomatoes may have been more aerodynamic, but are they funny? That’s the big take-home from this show.

That fruit-lobbing is just a bit of random fun, before and between the main action. The overall conceit here is that the Palestinian comic came over to the UK on a cruise and we’re about to meet his old colleagues. The set-up is actually quite old school. Wardeh announces that he’ll be doing some characters, then does them; no high-falutin fourth wall. Which could fall flat in the wrong hands, but he’s multi-skilled, a blur of clownish agility. 

Those roll-ups are the detritus from his most relaxed creation, a guitar-strumming troubadour and gruff cupid who’ll make two lonely strangers fall in love. Neither that strummer or the interpretive-dancing, karate-kicking other characters are wildly original, in truth, but Wardeh is such an engaging presence, it’s not a problem, for now. When he does find a slightly sharper framework for those talents, it could be something really special.