Looking over my time at this year’s Fringe, there have been several topics that have come up time and time again. ISIS is probably the most prominent, with several comics eager to get their teeth into the extremist group. Close runners up are the general election result, undoubtedly every political satirist’s dream, and – weirdly – Lidl, whose ability to provide its customers with cheap vegetables and power tools at the same time seems to have caught the imagination of comedians across Britain.
Immigrant Diaries manages to provide some clarity, reason and most importantly humanity to a seemingly complicated issue.
Yet immigration is a topic that generally has been avoided, despite it being one of the biggest issues at last May’s general election. So why the hell is no one talking about it? Surely one of comedy’s greatest assets is that it allows people to discuss the issues that desperately need discussing. Luckily for us, Sajeela Kershi is on hand to solve the problem.
While immigration itself is a multi-layered, complicated issue, the premise of Immigrant Diaries is very simple. Sajeela Kershi plays host to three guests every night, who along with her discuss their experiences, either as an immigrant or a relative of one. Of course the performers change every night; luckily for me, I was blessed with three very engaging performances, the best of whom without a doubt was Jo Romero. Her section about her Spanish mother was not only very funny, but also emotionally raw and at times very powerful. The only problem with having three performers is that they don’t have enough time; after 10 minutes each, you are left longing for more.
However, while I can’t speak for performers on other nights, Kershi herself is a delight. Not only is she fantastic host, but also a skilful raconteur. Immigration is a contentious topic, yet Kershi makes light work of making her experience as an immigrant amusing for her audience.
Overall what Kershi has created with Immigrant Diaries is something necessary. There’s so much ambiguity and ignorance towards immigration, now more than ever, yet through humour and honesty, Immigrant Diaries manages to provide some clarity, reason and most importantly humanity for a seemingly complicated issue.