In all likelihood, you’ll have already noticed the five star
rating attached to this review. Anil Desai’s Edinburgh offering,
Those unfamiliar with his work should be aware of the high level to which the impressionist comic is held amongst his peers. Since catapulting himself to the top of the impressionist’s league with his breath-taking (and record-breaking) 52 impressions in 5 minutes routine in 2009 Desai has toured the globe several times over.
Desai is a world class celebrity impersonator. You can just tell. It’s not hyperbole to state that if you close your eyes during, say, Desai’s Eddie Murphy impression, it feels like Murphy’s in the room. Whilst other impressionists chose to approximate a voice for comic effect, Desai achieves accuracy before delivering the superior gag.
Christopher Walken, Bill Cosby, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Homer Simpson, and many others are gently lampooned. With the exception of Cosby – who receives a kicking during the set - the celebs are affectionately pitched. Desai rarely resorts to cheap gags or crude laughs. He does wonder what an adult version of The Simpson’s cartoon would sound like, but its family friendly ‘carry-on’ innuendo and his impression of Marge Simpson, is of course, perfect.
Celebrity impersonations, no matter how good, can-not sustain an hour long show. One crucial key to the success Impressions of a Hindude is that it’s very well written. Another is Desai himself, an accomplished comedian who could, I’m sure, deliver a stand-up set without celebrity voices if he chose to.
If you were a fan of cricket you’d describe Desai as an all-rounder, who happens to be the best batsman, bowler and wicket keeper in the league. As a fan of comedy, whether you enjoy impressions or not, I urge you to seek out Desai’s next show and go. Just go.