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Review: Hardeep Singh Kohli's Indian Takeaway at The Woodville, Gravesend
IT had some fiery heat, but it was primarily tasteless and tepid.
That’s my critique of Hardeep Singh Kohli’s Tarka Daal - not his comedy - at The Woodville in Gravesend on Friday (May 25), but I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed. Again, the curry not the comedian.
The premise of the TV funnyman, writer, chef and all-round Renaissance man’s show Indian Takeaway is that he orders a curry from a local restaurant – in this case Lavasa in New Road, Gravesend – and then cooks his own while waiting for it to arrive.
It looked great on paper – he was a finalist on celeb Masterchef, cooking shows are popular, TV comedians are a big draw – so it was surprising to find The Woodville only around half full for the gig, and it is not even a big theatre.
That didn’t deter Mr Kohli, the Glaswegian Punjabi, who took to the stage in a kilt and pink turban to a Paulo Nutini tune.
The first half had lashings of audience banter and a generous dollop of observational material which played well to his large majority of British-Asian spectators.
It fell a bit flat for me. I found his interaction lazy –gags about an audience member being in a gay relationship with his cousin sat in the next seat were the tired equivalent of dialling for a comedy takeway because you can’t be bothered to cook something up for yourself.
It took until the second half before he began to sizzle.
For my tastes, he’s best when telling anecdotes. His story about a family budget trip to the Punjab as a child, carrying a second-hand Ford Sierra windscreen every step of the way was a feast. There was less cooking than expected, the pots just seemed to bubble away at the back of the stage, but the show was still a refreshing change.
When the food was passed around at the end, I admit I was disappointed by Hardeep’s Tarka Daal, but, taken as a whole, his Indian Takeaway really hit the spot.