Sami Abu Wardeh @ Underbelly Cowgate

Sami Abu Wardeh's new show Bedu is a charming if unpolished hour of character clowning from the Edinburgh Fringe newcomer

Review by Polly Glynn | 15 Aug 2022
  • Sami Abu Wardeh

In Bedu, Sami Abu Wardeh tells the story of his first job as a cleaner on a cruise ship and the cast of characters he works with along the way. Stealing the identity of a passenger and settling on his new name, Abu Wardeh transforms into a dancer, a dojo master, a Swedish sauna host and a full-of-himself flamenco guitarist, all of whom he calls his colleagues.

Some characters are more fleshed-out than others, particularly the dojo master whose main aim is to defeat the audience’s childhood bullies. It’s hugely high-energy and as Abu Wardeh’s eyes manically widen to give that sense of danger which makes performers like this so endlessly watchable, you can’t (and don’t want to) take your eyes off him just in case he catches you off guard. The same goes for Abu Wardeh’s final character, the bare-chested, narcissistic musician who brings glee from the moment he spits cigarettes from his lips. His flamenco covers and lingering stares would captivate the most sullen of audiences. Both characters could easily star in their own shows and it would be interesting to see if Abu Wardeh carries either of these characters into standalone hours.

There’s never a static second in the show – Abu Wardeh’s constantly moving, making noise or getting the audience to throw tomatoes into his mouth – even when transitioning between characters. It’s these segues which allow Bedu to appear a little scrappy at times, but are nonetheless entertaining and serve as a loose palate cleanser after each character ends. Bedu is well worth your time, and a friendly and accessible affair for those both familiar and unfamiliar with the clowning medium.

Sami Abu Wardeh: Bedu, Underbelly Cowgate (Iron Belly), until 28 Aug (not 15), 8.10pm, £10-12