Not for Prophet is an entertaining hour filled with witty stories, unique insights into current affairs and an abrupt Bollywood dance break.
This show may be Akbar’s Edinburgh debut, but he has an abundance of accolades as a comic. He made it to the finals in both Laughing Horse 2014 and So You Think You’re Funny 2014. In 2016, he won the Piccadilly Comedy Club New Comedian of the Year and supported Dane Baptiste on tour.
Eshaan Akbar has an impressive wealth of life experience to draw upon in his first hour in Edinburgh, having had an incredibly unique childhood and diverse career.
Growing up Muslim in the UK with a Thatcherite mother from Bangladesh and staunch Labourite Pakistani father has given Akbar a unique perspective on issues such as politics, religion and race, he can empathise with most individuals on the political spectrum but increasingly finds himself edging towards the left.
Akbar was also the only working class student at his private school and has had an unusual career to date that includes work in public policy, banking, Bollywood dancing and most recently, stand up comedy.
Throughout his show Akbar briefly touches upon all of the above, allowing the audiences to really get to know him. The links between the stories and topics were somewhat weak, leaving the show lacking in any one focus or overall message. A stronger conclusion or even a more obvious theme would have strengthened the show, and given the audience something to consider after the hour was up.
Akbar is at his best when he pushes the boundaries a little bit further, the brutal honesty about his journey away from Islam and towards alcohol and bacon gets some of the biggest laughs of the hour. Humorous tales about Muslim Tindr, his parents’ racist arguments towards one another and an entertaining train journey with his nephew are just a few highlights from an enjoyable hour.
Altogether Not for Prophet is a strong show, and I’ll definitely be looking out for Eshaan Akbar’s work in the future.
Eshaan Akbar: Not for Prophet
Gilded Balloon – Turret (Venue 14)
Until 27th August