Sajeela Kershi: Shallow Halal

Sajeela Kershi is firmly sat on the fence. Being brought up in a Muslim family, but still doubtful about Allah’s existence, it seems that the only thing that Kershi is sure is that she’s one hundred percent agnostic. This sets up her show Shallow Halal, a confident hour of comedy exploring family, growing up and faith.

It’s a show that, while specifically about a Muslim family, is wonderfully inclusive, celebrating everyone’s relationship with faith.

The first you notice about Kershi is how well she interacts with her audience. What’s impressive about her interaction is that it’s not only banterous like most comics limit themselves to, but she also allows her audience to get fully involved. She’s crafted a show that allows for her and the general public to have a dialogue about faith and upbringing and how this affects your choices and personality, resulting in an interactive and ultimately rewarding show.

While I could easily watch Kershi chat with her audience, comparing their childhood experiences, she’s by no means over-reliant on it, having plenty of well-told and humorous anecdotes up her sleeve. Whether it's experiences with bullies, altercations with American immigration officers or an incident with the Taliban (yes the Taliban), Kershi will not only leave you in hysterics, but also somewhat surprised that she’s still standing in front of you.

Yet it’s Kershi’s grasp of her subject that shines through in the end. In the audience there is a mixture of faiths; Muslims, Christians, Jews. Yet, despite herself being sceptical about the powers of faith, there’s not air of judgement in Kershi’s set. It’s a show that, while specifically about a Muslim family, is wonderfully inclusive, celebrating everyone’s relationship with faith, whether that’s a strong relationship or a non-existent one.

Broadway Baby Radio interview with Sajeela Kershi

Reviews by Will Roberts

The Assembly Rooms

Immigrant Diaries: Sajeela Kershi and Guests

★★★★
Laughing Horse @ The Newsroom

Sajeela Kershi: Shallow Halal

★★★★
Assembly George Square Studios

Chris Dugdale: Sleightly Dishonest

★★★
Just the Tonic at The Mash House

Ally Houston: Shandy

★★
The Assembly Rooms

Tom Stade: You’re Welcome!

★★★★

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Performances

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The Blurb

With column inches reserved for homogenised stereotypes, has comedian Sajeela become a cartoon version of herself? A misspent childhood seeking religious loopholes means she's sitting firmly on the faith fence. She's had enough of Koran hijacking extremists, Dawkins spouting atheists and finger pointing social media to last a lifetime! Can #hashtags really save humanity? Struggling to understand your place in the 21st century? Keep Calm and Carry On to this free show. Star of 2007's Brendon Burns Edinburgh Award Winning Show, Hackney Empire finalist, AWA finalist. 'Smart, funny, mischievous' (Times). 'Magnetic' (Spectator).**** (One4Review.co.uk). **** (ThreeWeeks).

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