Shazia Mirza and Patrick Monahan, Gilded Balloon Teviot, Edinburgh

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The Independent Culture

It seems strange to warm an audience up only to shower them down again and this double bill feels like an exercise routine in that respect. The engaging Ben Chaplin lookalike Patrick Monahan bounds up and down, responding to the audience, fulfilling his role as essentially a warm-up act. His domestic tales of a Scottish-Irish-Iranian-Geordie upbring-ing hold some interest for the sheer diversity of it all.

Scenarios such as the Iran vs Republic of Ireland World Cup qualifier allow Monahan to exploit his background to comic effect, as does a vision of his grandmother reading the Koran eating a bacon sandwich and drinking a Guinness. It's loveable stuff butlacks bite - a bite which is, presumably, anticipated by Shazia Mirza's appearance. Ditching her pilot's licence joke, she enters with: "Don't worry, I'm not going to blow you up." True, there is not much material here that is explosive, though her routine on suicide bombers ruffles some of the large American contingent.

Mirza's deadpan after Monahan's exuberance is unsettling and this was compounded by her colder-than-usual tone, a reflection of the reaction she was getting from the audience.

Venue 14, time (1hr), to 25 August (0131 226 2151)

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