I have a soft spot for cross-cultural comedies, particularly those which focus on relationships. You see, I am mixed. My husband is mixed. Between us, we have a spawned a super Heinz 57 who will spend half of his life trying to explain his cultural heritage.
So I welcomed the opportunity to commiserate with Dr Ahmed. I’ve been there. I’ve dressed my half-Caucasian husband in traditional wedding garb, partly to fit in at the mosque but mostly to hide the tattoos that cover his arms. Despite having laughable Malay, I’ve had to play translator.
I had an idea of what was in store, having watched his other show earlier in the season. Succinctly: if Jonathon Van Ness and Ally McBeal had a baby, you’d get Dr Ahmed.
When the lights went down, Dr Ahmed bounded on stage, treating us to his voice and moves. What did you expect? This IS a part Pakistani wedding, of course we’ll celebrate with song and dance. And of course, some Bollywood-level dramatics are included in the epic retelling of how boy meets boy turns into boy weds boy.
We’ve all put ourselves out there in the name of love. We’ve had the strange first dates. We’ve had the moments when we’ve cursed ourselves for oversharing. So despite what seems to be such a niche title, this show speaks to all. It’s no surprise when we reach the midpoint of the show, that everyone cheers when Dr Ahmed reveals that his dreamboat proposed… and then breaks into another number.
But this isn’t just a colourful celebration. While there are times where he plays up the dramatics to great effect, Dr Ahmed puts those aside at times to tackle the hard stuff head on. There are sombre moments where he bares his soul with such eloquence that everyone is crying. The “aunty” in me was tempted to run onstage to envelope him in the biggest hug ever when he talked about familial rejection. I didn’t just see him, I felt his heartache.
And this, is why I love Dr Ahmed’s show. He isn’t just throwing punchline after punchline at you. It isn’t all just song and dance. There is heart, which gives his set so much depth. If you’re in a cross cultural relationship, if you’re gay, if you’re estranged from family, you won’t just leave with a sore tummy from laughing so hard but a sense of camaraderie too.
I am eternally grateful to Dr Ahmed for creating such a resonating experience. And by the looks of the standing ovation he received, so was his audience.
Grab your tickets while you can for this all-encompassing hour of dramedy where the only thing missing was… moussaka. #ifyouknowyouknow
The final shows of Dr Ahmed Gets Hitched runs today at the Subiaco Arts Centre. Grab your tickets here!