Spanish comedian Sonia Aste is a woman of many talents. After starting her career in Silicon Valley, her work in AI has led her to travel all over the world and even master four languages. If that wasn’t enough, she has now turned her hand to comedy. Following her sell-out show at Brighton Fringe 2018, her latest show Made in Spain 2 focuses on the ‘cultural differences’ between Spain and the UK.
A 'tapas menu' of comedy delight
Before the performances even starts, it’s clear Aste is comfortable using Spanish stereotypes to her advantage. Greeting each member of the crowd personally, she hands out red and yellow souvenirs to a soundtrack of Despacito. Before the show’s main section, she spends a good chunk of time getting to know the audience and revels in the wide range of nationalities present in the tiny venue. Cheekily referring to audience members as their country of origin, the comedian creates a connection in a way that is both charming and personable. She’s quick on her feet, able to make jokes about the Swedes in the second row and the Spaniards peppered throughout the audience. In a particular highlight, she produces a Mexican football shirt that delights an audience member; it’s his hometown team.
After the introductions, Aste works through a ‘tapas menu’ of comedy delight that grows longer and longer. She touches on issues like Brexit, Spanish Catholicism (apparently sadder than the Irish version) and Catalan independence. Not only are there jokes, but moments of song and audience participation that help to keep the energy up and the show moving. However, there are times when each section feels a little brief and just when you feel as if we are in the swing of things, there is a clunky pause as we move to the next ‘tapa’.
There are also some moments which feel particularly jarring. Whereas her amusing observations of the British and the French are met with resounding laughter, cheap laughs aimed at Mexican and Colombian immigrants undermine the ‘we’re all in this together’ attitude that the comedian is so keen to promote. What could have been an amusing antidote to Brexit is let down by some clumsy stereotypes that leave the audience on edge.
After a fun-filled opening night, Aste will have further performances at the Duke of Wellington on the 17th, 18th and 25th May.