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Kev Orkian - The Illegal Tour
Published on Thursday, 26 August 2010

5 stars

Underbelly, Cowgate (venue website)
Until 29 Aug, 7:05pm (8:05pm)
Reviewed by Trystan Davies

Music and laughter do travel, and Kev Orkian – The Illegal Tour leads the way.  His charming comedy alter ego needs a little help to settle in, but luckily this Armenian is the perfect guest. 

Kev Orkian is an accomplished actor, pianist and comedian who, in The Illegal Tour, tells us how hard things can be trying to get through the Eurotunnel and staying here.  It's worth seeing the show just for this story alone, but Orkian also adds the showbiz fortissimo of his piano playing.  Kev uses his own Armenian heritage, jokes about asylum seekers, a cheeky and charming personality, and great audience interaction... all coupled with limitless musical skill.

The Illegal Tour takes us through a musical tribute to an alien adventure in the UK.  This includes English lessons via cockney slang, Elton John music through a scratched CD and Armenian slants to popular West End musicals.  There is even a witty montage of classical music which adds sophistication to the down-to-earth mix.

The naive immigrant persona has been done before (think Borat), but Orkian has a charmingly original approach.  Throughout the act, cultural differences and misunderstandings are successfully satirised even though it sometimes feels delicate.  This is backed up perfectly by Orkian’s deft hand at humour on the keyboard, handling songs chosen and cheered on by the audience.  The Underbelly can be congratulated for the surprisingly good acoustics in the White Belly room. 

Kev Orkian is an acknowledged rising star, and has been rightfully compared to Victor Borge and Dudley Moore.  You have little time left in Edinburgh to see the Illegal Tour before the authorities take the Fringe away.  Grab that ticket!

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These are archived reviews of shows from the Edinburgh Fringe 2010.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to those we've featured, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.

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