Ria Lina: Taboo Raider

Ria Lina presents a comic show on political correctness that purports to raid society’s taboos. Unfortunately, Lina asks the wrong questions: “When did vertically challenged become the correct term used for short?” It hasn’t. “Why did ‘they’ ban Baa Baa Black Sheep?” Er, ‘they’ didn’t. And so on. So the half jokes that follow false premise after false premise fall flat.

Her non-related comic asides and yes, her audience interaction, are easily the highlights of this show

When Lina’s claims that we’re not allowed to disapprove of Oscar Pistorius because he’s an amputee, one wonders which newspaper she’s been reading.

Post-Charlie Hebdo, hard questions need to be asked about free speech and the nature of offensiveness. Comedy is a great forum to explore societal norms and push those old boundaries. But we don’t get anywhere by simply smuggling the the word ‘cunt’ or ‘nigger’ into a half-joke without further debate. Brendon Burns, in his groundbreaking Fringe show, I Suppose This Is Offensive Now covered this ground so much better back in 2007.

Lina repeatedly misinterprets audience silence for disapproval. She seems to believe that the awkwardness in the room is down to her non-PC banter, when actually her better jokes, and mercifully there are quite are a few, do get big laughs.

In fact, if you try and forget the point of the show and focus on the jokes themselves, there is some fun to be had here. Lina is an accomplished comedian. Her delivery, her timing, everything is there. I hope she isn’t offended, but her non-related comic asides and yes, her audience interaction, are easily the highlights of this show, statements that some suggest a reviewer should never make.

Reviews by Martin Walker

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The Blurb

Ria's 2014 show School of Riason received award nominations and a commission for BBC Radio 4. This year, Ria's aiming for Comedy Central as she returns with her new show looking at modern taboos such as racism, sexism and discrimination. Are we really heading in a direction of enlightenment and understanding or back to the middle ages? Are the liberated their own worst enemies? Not for the faint of humour. 'Fearless, provocative and very funny ... wonderfully on-the-edge stuff' **** (Scotsman). '...electrified the audience with her relaxed yet biting wit' **** (ThreeWeeks).