Manos Kanellos: Greekonomics

He introduces himself as 'Manos from Samos' though he's lived as an expat for the past twenty years. It's his ability to thoughtfully compare his experiences in both Britain and his Greek homeland that make Manos Kanellos' show as engaging as it is.

Indeed, although he paints on the stereotypes eagerly - with his endearingly heavy accent and jabs at 'Occupied Greece' (see: Turkey) - Kanellos is educated and cosmopolitan, having left home to study for a PhD in London. Some of the most poignant moments in his set came from comparing the fate of his brother, a policeman back in Samos, to Kanellos himself. The apple of his mother's eye until the economic crisis started, Kanellos' brother found his generous pension slashed.

Suddenly the poor younger sibling that had gone to live among the 'homosexuals' in Britain was the main bread winner of the family. Kanellos' hilarious impression of his mother's change of heart - and his own evident glee at his brother's current plight - managed to remain very funny while still retaining the obvious political edge Kanellos was intending. Elsewhere, Kanellos' experiences of dealing with British plumbers unwilling to issue receipts were employed skillfully to question the idea that only southern Europeans avoid taxes.

A couple of the jokes didn't really hit the spot, particularly the few ill-advised gags Kanellos attempted about Angela Merkel's supposed Nazi credentials. For an act so good at gently undermining stereotypes, lines of this kind felt tacked on, even if they were only meant ironically. A few times Kanellos seemed unsure where to go next, forcing him to check his notes before continuing. This marred what was otherwise a slick and well-presented hour.

Still, this was an amusing hour of incisive comedy that, despite its imperfections, is worth the ticket price. And, let's face it, Kanellos' poor brother can do with all the help he can get.

Reviews by Andrea Valentino

Performances

The Blurb

See this show and save the world economy. Honestly! It's about money, etymology and moussaka. ‘He is very good’ (Scotsman). ‘Interesting, very intelligent’ (Skinny). ‘See Manos, laugh and learn something along the way’ (ThreeWeeks).