Anil Desai: Another Night at the Movies

Review by Vonny Moyes | 12 Aug 2013
  • Anil Desai: Another Night at the Movies

There's something different about Anil Desai; he's either one of the most gifted impressionists I've ever seen or his face is channelling some sort of witchcraft. Either would be impressive, really. It's a full house tonight, but by the end of the show there will have been more people on stage than bums on seats. He starts the hour conversing about our favourite movies and his domestic grumbles, before using this as a vehicle to launch into something really special.

Being the first to admit he looks nothing like Robert De Niro, he gets us to count to three before morphing into him so completely, it's downright spooky. It's not enough for an impressionist just to nail the voice these days; the character has to permeate their every fibre, and Desai is utterly undetectable. It's even more extraordinary as he melts into 50 different stars in the space of minutes.

He interlaces them flawlessly into charming anecdotes and observational riffs on Indians in space. The audience is utterly captivated; his chameleonics draw as much gleeful gasping as riotous laughter. One of the most impressive parts is a three way discussion between some very famous stars – this artifice works really well, and leaves me wishing the rest of the hour incorporated such intelligent playfulness. He has the talent to make it work. Desai's show is a real treasure of the free Fringe, and a show I would happily pay a decent amount to see. Cheaper than hitting the flicks, and infinitely more fun, so what are you waiting for? 

Laughing Horse @ City Cafe, 1-25 Aug, 21:15, free (non-ticketed)