Esther Manito, still a relatively fresh-face in the comedy scene, brings her new show #NotAllMen to the Camden Fringe. Her inspiration struck for this new show on the train back from Edinburgh Fringe 2019 where she stumbled across a news article about a man arrested and imprisoned for masturbating on the tube. After tweeting about the article she was met by the response we’re all sick and tired of hearing - #NotAllMen. And as Manito reminds us during her lively hour of comedy… #NotThePoint.
feminism isn’t just for women – it’s for men too
Manito starts the show with a little Covid-19 round up of the year. She’s so energetic and likeable as a performer that it’s easy to forgive the somewhat hackneyed Covid take. I know that not mentioning it seems like missing the stonking, great elephant in the room downing a bottle of hydroxychloroquine, but I’m not sure there is anything left to be said.
We then move onto the meat of the show, talking about raising boys and girls in our new age of, not just acceptance, but celebration of womanhood and feminism. Manito wants to clap back at those #NotAllMen-ers and explain how feminism isn’t just for women – it’s for men too. As the wife, mother and daughter of fantastic men she wants this message to empower and improve their lives as well as women’s.
There is a healthy chunk of the show devoted to her conflicting identity – her Dad is from Lebanon and her mum is a Geordie. This has given her a unique perspective on what masculinity means across different cultures, and what we can take from that to evolve our understanding of equality. As someone with a Middle-Eastern (I agree; rubbish term) grandfather, I found it easy to empathise with the struggles of loud disagreements on bill paying and the comical conflict that can arise from your British and Arab families colliding. The show spent so much time in this territory at times you forgot about the original theme – feminism – but the material was still pretty entertaining and was improved by Manito’s delivery.
Overall - while the topics could do with some freshening up - #NotAllMen, cultural differences and Covid-19 have all had plenty of coverage on the comedy circuits – Manito makes up for it with a charming and confident performance.