Review: Stand Up with Janine Harouni (Please Remain Seated) at Pleasance Courtyard

The fact that this is Janine Harouni’s debut is frankly offensive – there are no teething problems, no newbie jitters and she’s also managed to craft a show with depth as well as laughs. Other performers must be fuming. The venue, Bunker Three, is perfect for this show as it feels intimate and almost like a spoken word show after hours in a coffee shop. It’s a double-edged sword however; it begins to feel like more people should witness this remarkable show than the limited seating allows.

Harouni’s show opens like many others, a comedian talking about their family, their childhood, all relatively straight forward but it quickly elevates and becomes more poignant. The stories she tells of her parents, complete with impressions immerse you in a Staten Island living room. So far so charming but soon the audience is hit by the fact that the show becomes truly heartfelt and essentially a thank you to her parents. Despite their ideological differences (her father voted Trump in 2016), Janine Harouni conveys her father with real compassion and it’s hard not to feel moved again and again.

For a debut, Harouni’s show is very impressive and it’s easily recommendable. The end, in particular, is an excellent way to finish – especially for those who appreciate visual storytelling.

Stand Up with Janine Harouni (Please Remain Seated), Pleasance Courtyard, 31 Jul – 25 Aug, 5.45pm

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