Sameena Zehra: Tea With Terrorists @ Captain Taylor's Coffee House
The premise of Sameena Zehra’s second Edinburgh show comes loaded with the promise of unique insight, as she recounts how her family came to share afternoon tea with some terrorists. Surprisingly this event doesn’t even form the main bulk of the show; instead Zehra draws extensively on her childhood experience moving from South London to Kashmir following her parents’ divorce. It still delivers insight aplenty, but it’s more charming depiction of family squabbles set against a backdrop of civil unrest than it is political comedy.
Her perpetually cursing grandmother provides the best lines, as she dares to challenge gun toting burglars and argues with the laconic live-in chef. All of the characters are painted with infectious warmth which means the lack of big laughs becomes a relatively minor misgiving. Some of the broader material, such as the bureaucracy of the Indian consulate or the overzealous aggression of American military personnel, feels as though it is treading ground which has been covered by countless other comics with much funnier walks. It’s a very gentle form of comedic storytelling and despite the often high octane situations being described Zehra rarely stretches beyond a relaxed conversational tone. Rarely laugh out loud funny but a consistently engaging and ultimately quite heart-warming tale.