Edinburgh Fringe Review 2019 – Stand Up with Janine Harouni (Please Remain Seated), Pleasance

Janine Harouni comes from Staten Island, where everyone talks just like the Sopranos.

At the heart of her autobiographical show is the relationship between Harouni and her Catholic, Trump supporting father.

Harouni disapproves of her father’s voting record and is distressed about his views on gay rights and abortion.

As a liberal she rails against his beliefs and despairs at what is happening to her country.

But at every turn her disapproval is undermined by her father’s generosity and huge heart. His words are saying one thing – but his actions say another.

When something really catastrophic happens and Harouni needs her father’s help he responds with heroic kindness – and she is truly overwhelmed by his patience, strength and love.

Harouni makes us feel we know her father, mother and friends and brilliantly recreates the rhythms of speech of Staten Island and London, which is now her home. Her writing is packed with elegantly crafted observational gags.

She has a keen eye for the ridiculous and absurd – both in herself and other people.   And she gives a very clear account of how she came to have different political views to those around her.

It’s a little over rehearsed if anything. Harouni trained as an actress and it sometimes shows.

But you’ll feel like you really know Harouni, her lovely dad, her tiny Alpha mum and her gay best friend. And you’ll discover what Harouni once said to Keira Knightley on a film set.

Her Irish live in boyfriend is in the room tonight but it doesn’t stop Harouni throwing in some off colour jokes about their sex life. In fact it seems to bring out her mischievous spontaneous side.

Harouni is whipsmart, funny and likable – and she avoids the clichés to deliver a fascinating thoughtful and entertaining insight into the heart of Trump’s America.  

Stand Up with Janine Harouni (Please Remain Seated), Pleasance until Aug 25. Tickets here.

Read more Edinburgh Fringe reviews here.

****

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