MICF: Suren Jayemanne Eat Praline, Die review


Oh, my giddy aunt but is Jayemanne good. Young, gifted and not-at-all-slack in his delivery, this new comedian has found a register of confidence that not even beta-blockers can provide. He is apparently without fear because he likely knows his material to be largely without flaws. I am in the habit of timing gags that land well and so can report that this show offers literally (not figuratively or literally) at least a laugh-a-minute.

In a small room a slight guy emerges in great earnestness to deliver us a Serious Message. As a brown man raised in a culturally white Australia, Jayemanne is quite used to the expectation that solemn work is his remit. Thanks in part to the impenitent glory of Nazeem Hussain and Aamer Rahman but also to his own wiseacre chops, this comic refuses to be the compassionate brown guy white audiences hope for and dispenses after this funny false start with Good Works in favour of big laughs.

With his Serious Message done, Jayemanne works one-liners of great quality into a narrative of slightly uneven worth. In the show’s final moments, he takes a wrong turn and works up to a punchline his relatives in Sri Lanka can probably see coming through low-powered binoculars. The gag is just not that strong and the minutes of dedication to it are wasted.

This, I imagine, is the effect of a good urge to give his audience a conclusion and the criticism is intended in no way to dissuade you from seeing the main contender for this year’s Best Newcomer award. It is offered, instead, as a mild suggestion to a wonderful comedian whom I would like to see playing much bigger rooms immediately. Fix that and collect your five stars next year, Suren. You are fucking hilarious.

Suren Jayemanne’s Eat Praline, Die is at the Portland Hotel until April 19


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