Sukh Ojla @ Gilded Balloon, Patter Hoose
Engaging storytelling in Sukh Ojla's debut Fringe hour
Sukh Ojla’s on a quest to improve her mental health at any cost. Perhaps surprisingly for some, her delivery is bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as she presents observations on moving back in with her parents in her 30s and the struggles of talking mental health in a close-knit Punjabi community, especially when your parents are best mates with your doctor.
However, the real meat of For Sukh’s Sake is a spellbinding yarn about a spiritual retreat with added hallucinogens. Inspired by her pal’s recent trip (in both senses of the word), Ojla heads to Barcelona to try Ayahuasca as people seem to rave about its alleviation of depression and anxiety symptoms.
Ojla has a captivating stage presence, with an attention to detail that keeps the audience highly engaged in her story, through both light and dark. Nonetheless, the laughs in the hour are minimal. There’s some wryly amusing stuff about using her imagined friend’s birthday as an excuse to go out, and every only-child’s fear at sharing a room, as well as a few more funny comments peppered through the hour. But, it’s really Ojla’s warmth and enthusiasm which keeps you invested in her adventure.
It’s certainly much more of a storytelling show than stand-up, but one which gently takes its hand and leads it on a path of self-discovery.
Sukh Ojla: For Sukh's Sake, Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose (Nip), until 25 Aug (not 12), 5.15pm, £7.50-9.50