As a woman of colour, I feel compelled to support diversity in the arts. Asian faces were few and far between on screen when I was growing up, so every opportunity to watch a fellow POC on stage entices me like a siren song.
The only downside I’ve found is that artists sometimes lean in too much into their ethnicities. This isn’t always a bad thing but sometimes it feels like I’m watching Apu from the Simpsons. Yes, parts of their acts resonate but I don’t eat dosas everyday, y’know?
This is where Dr Ahmed excels. He strikes a beautiful balance of embracing his heritage (and lamenting the niggles it brings) while incorporating all other facets of his world. While he is proudly Pakistani, he is not defined solely by his desi-ness. He is also the homesick Perthite, the consummate health professional and unapologetically camp gay man. The fact that he wears all these hats during this 60 minute show makes it a wonderfully relatable representation of the chaos that is life.
When you step in the theatre, you are lulled by his soothing dulcet tones and think, ah this will be like being at a casual dinner party where you share war stories. But then WHAM. Here comes the dramatics worthy of a Bollywood blockbuster. BAM. There’s shimmying that is only missing an accompanying Carmen Miranda-style fruit headpiece. THANK YOU MAM… and it’s over too soon.
In most instances, you’d think that an hour is too long to be talking about a kidney stone. However, the way Dr Ahmed weaves his tale, takes you on a detour then redirects you to the main plot is masterful. Tears were escaping the corners of the eyes within the first five minutes and consistently throughout the show. His narrative is rich with spot on descriptions and you feel like you were there with him when he discovered the joys of… analgesics.
I don’t normally book multiple shows by an artist I’m unfamiliar with but I’m glad I did. I’m excited for Dr Ahmed’s other Fringe show. I can’t wait to commiserate over the highs and lows of a cross-cultural relationship.
10 year old Nadia would be so happy that I’ve found such an eloquent, entertaining voice in Dr Ahmed.
Taste of your own medicine only has two more shows left this season! Snap up those last tickets here.