Random Bag Check is a marvellous show – despite the stigma surrounding the Free Fringe. Sadia Azmat and Vittorio Angelone bring with them both experience and a refreshing view on political comedy.
Azmat is a witty woman from East London and certainly brings with her an edgy and rebellious comedy set. Identifying as Muslim, Azmat invites the audience to join in her conversation of politics and religion and encourages them to share their own opinions. Azmat touches on the subjects of Brexit, Islam, race and, of course, sex. For anyone who knows Azmat previously from her podcast ‘No Country for Young Women’ or other stand-up shows, this should come as no surprise, though it could be observed as crude by some.
Azmat does not shy from jokes about Islam and in fact, welcomes the audience to laugh with her about what might be perceived as more questionable parts of her religion. She begins a joke about her father’s polygamist behaviour and how his life choices impact their family in a more entertaining way than first thought. The audience doesn’t fear heckling Azmat, and she constantly tackles this in a brilliant way by making it part of the show.
Azmat is joined by Fringe first-timer Angelone, the son of Italian immigrant parents living in Belfast. Despite being a difficult conversation to have onstage, the comedians manage an intelligent discussion of racism in front of a largely white crowd extremely well. This brave move both allows the comedy to continue and to keep the seriousness of the issue live. Indeed, the comedy was relatable and thought-provoking from the very beginning.
Angelone also takes great joy in audience participation, poking fun at several audience members. His jokes tackle similar themes of religion, politics and race to Azmat’s, which makes for a show that leaves the audience both entertained and with something to think about.
Neither Azmat nor Angelone can be faulted, their love for their comedy shines through their sets and personalities. Both use the platform most effectively by discussing their own opinions whilst encouraging the audience to join them, taking the discussion away from the room and into the wider world.
Random Bag Check is on at Voodoo Rooms – French Quarter
At 15:05 until 25th August
It is performed as part of PBH’s Free Fringe
Image: Emily Davis