Comedy review: Nigel Ng: Culture Shocked, Pleasance Courtyard

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Slick and suave, Nigel Ng is a Malaysian stand-up who honed his skills in the US. Perfectly at ease with the audience, he takes particular interest in speaking to those from abroad, his four years in the UK and Brexit affording him insight and relevancy. At his best, and with little fuss, he makes you see familiar cultural phenomena anew, challenging perceived wisdom and empty platitudes.

Nigel Ng: Culture Shocked, Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33) ***

Not content with pointing out how the grass isn’t always greener, he propels specious reasoning to ridiculous extremes. He is especially adroit at bemoaning the philistine British approach to sushi and is enjoyably patronising about our rice portioning. Equally entertaining is his frustration at the bureaucracy and excessive attentions of airport security his ethnicity provokes.

Yet while he might be delivering home truths, Ng can also occasionally fall prey to stereotyping, his tone shifting too harshly into snobbery about, say, Butlins, which undermines an otherwise charmingly assured debut.

Jay Richardson

Until 25 August