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Home arrow Archive: Earlier Fringes arrow Archive: Edinburgh 2011 arrow Paul Sinha: Looking at the Stars
Paul Sinha: Looking at the Stars
Published on Sunday, 14 August 2011

5 stars

The Stand Comedy Club III & IV (venue website)
3 Aug, 7:15pm-8:15pm; 5-14, 16-28 Aug, 10:40pm-11:40pm
Reviewed by Mathilda Gregory

 Recommended for age 18+ only. Venue may not permit under-18's - check with venue before booking.

Paul Sinha’s new show is about dreams, and what happens if you pursue them. It also centres on a meeting Sinha had with Jim Davidson last year, in the wake of his 2010 show Extreme Anti-White Vitriol, and takes in encounters with a variety of other celebrities.

Sinha has a very particular, very skilful form of comic story telling. He nests his stories inside each other like Russian dolls.  What seems like a quick aside is actually the secret door to a long story, after which we are pulled back to the main narrative, just at the point where we start to forget about it.  It’s like plate spinning - and if you can bear to stop just listening and laughing for long enough to look closely at what Sinha is doing, it is quite magical.

Despite performing six Edinburgh shows with a level of craft and intelligence most stand ups rarely reach, Paul Sinha claims he still isn’t really very famous.  His venue never sells out and most people that come to see him have never heard of him, let alone seen him do stand up before.  At least, this is what Sinha says; the woman I got talking to before the show was was as much of a fan as me.

At the top of the show Sinha asks who’s see him perform before, and about half the audience cheer (he says he usually gets far less return business). But one of Sinha’s regular comic staples has been his permanently single status, and when, during this show, he announces a tentative change, the enthusiasm from the crowd suggests a real affection for his trials and tribulations.

Sinha laments his failure to become one if the comedy big-league, and he may be right in claiming that his face doesn’t fit. A lot of emerging young comics these days look like they could be members of a boyband.  The closest Sinha comes is his ‘friend’s’ obsession with Jason Orange of Take That.

The title Looking at the Stars has many meaning within the show. Despite his protestations of obscurity, for fans of intelligent, thoughtful, artful stand-up, it could refer to the experience of watching Paul Sinha himself.

This is an updated version of this review, published on 20 August.  This update corrects an error in the opening paragraph, which erroneously stated that last year's show was called Extreme White Vitriol.  We apologise for any offence or confusion caused by our mistake.

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