“I’m not here to lecture you,” says Hardeep Singh Kohli, as he manoeuvres majestically around the lectern in what is, admittedly, a lecture hall. And hector us he certainly doesn’t, although the vast majority here would probably sign up for a longer course of Hardeep thinking. It’s an oft-whispered fact that even good Fringe comedy shows are frequently 10 to 15 minutes longer than anyone really wants them to be, but this one could do with a half hour of extra time afterwards, to keep the worldly wit and wisdom flowing.
Alternative, Fact explores various contemporary issues via the story of Kohli’s childhood, a somewhat enforced move to London and a recent homecoming to his native Glasgow. That urge to return emerged during the Scottish independence referendum campaign, one of several political upheavals he offers knowledgeable commentary on here.
Kohli is pro-independence, but happily enters into an open-minded mid-show discussion with several ‘no’ voters, about the whys and wherefores. This particular afternoon also features a moving aside about dark Indian birth practises, inspired by the name of a Punjabi woman in the front row.
That unforeseen moment is handled beautifully by Kohli, and the whole show is a lesson in Fringe show management. True, this is a receptive crowd, but—resplendent in jacket and kilt—he navigates through subjects with a unique grace and style, tempering occasional bouts of measured fury with some fabulous punchlines. These serenely made points land with so much more power. “What an amazing chap,” says one of his followers, on the way out. True fact.