This self-titled “Village Idiot” impresses in her Edinburgh Fringe debut with a set questioning her own place in a global society and bridging a cultural gap between her native India and the Edinburgh crowd which she addresses. With jokes that range from sweatshops and religion to toilets and Trump, Mittal takes us on a global journey of cultural discovery from her Indian roots to Britain, the US and beyond – no topic, no matter how controversial or light hearted, is safe from her sharp and quick-witted humour.
Despite a visibly nervous start, Mittal quickly warmed up the frosty audience to garner an engaged response to her raw and down to earth humour. The show was far from perfect – some jokes definitely landed flat, a casualty of crossing significant cultural boundaries, but Mittal refused to let that stop her, quickly landing follow up laughs and leaving little room for silence. Whilst a few of her lines were general and – dare I say it – clichéd, she was successful in putting her own unique spin on situations, astutely managing to bring out harmonious laughter in a crowd full of diversity and polar cultural opposites.
Her downfalls can be forgiven, however, when she herself reminds us of how unlikely it is for her to be performing in Edinburgh this month: out of 200 English speaking comedians in India, only 12 are female. She is not only in a minority working in Britain, she is in a minority working in her own home country and that makes what she has managed in her set all the more impressive. She draws on her own cultural experience but doesn’t rely solely on it, giving a fresh, insightful and sharp outlook on life both in India and globally.
Words: Emily Hay
Aditi Mittal: Global Village Idiot, Underbelly Med Quad, Aug 9-27 (not 14), 6.35pm