Being Frank is a truly very special show, performed by stand up veteran Imaan Hadchiti. If you’re looking for a step away from the stand-up boys club of the mainstream venues, Hadchiti is a total gem. Not only is his schtick and his outlook infectious and hilarious, but an hour with him is made poignant and exciting by his striking freshness, and his total honesty. It’s the second of these that he wants us to focus on; he pleads with us to speak uncompromisingly genuinely. The truth is, the show this review was drawn from was less than usual, with a small and intimate audience leading to much more of a discussion about the world than a traditional hour of stand up – and yet still made very funny and warm by Imaan.
Worthy of you spending an hour with on the top deck of a bus next to Potterow Port.
We are amiably greeted by a friendly face and a cracking bit of observational comedy based on his experiences living in Berlin and his experience as a person of short stature. Speaking of uncompromising honesty, Hadchiti asserts that he does not mind the term ‘midget’, despite the fact he is ironically berated by other (taller) people for using it. Hadchiti’s stature is a core factor of his identity, and thus his act; and though we may get caught up in the nuances of the most conscious ways of how to approach it – much to Hadchiti’s amusement, by the way – Hadchiti breaks down these barriers of awkwardness, while at the same time asserting an identity beyond his size and the way his background is blurred by many. Through hysterical stories and insightful, politically-tinged views of the world and its issues (his self-aware attempts to ‘solve the world’s problems’) we are invited somewhere that ultimately feels exceedingly intimate; in the way that many of the packed-out mainstream stand up shows simply don’t – though this isn’t simply an audience size thing.
Heroes of the Fringe has changed so much of the way independent talent has existed at the fringe in recent years, but Imaan is a figure totally worthy of the title of ‘hero’. He brings a seeming abundance of geniality and warmth to a room as small as five people. He and people like him keep the certainly characterful, but fundamentally, artistically honest core of the Fringe alive. Hadchiti doesn’t try and be anyone else than the person he is, the person he’s trying to show you, and the simple truth is that that is a person who’s worthy of you spending an hour with on the top deck of a bus next to Potterow Port.