Friday 14 April 2017

Doctor in the House review - Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Ahmed Kazmi is a doctor: a real life doctor. He also happens to be a comedian who can sing and dance and in his enjoyable Melbourne International Comedy Festival Show, Doctor in the House, Kazmi explores the high and lows of the medical profession while informing the audience of some dos and don'ts when visiting their GP.

The softly spoken doctor recalls his fondness for looking after older patients and the experiences he's had with them, which has involved him hosting and performing in a Christmas carolling evening at a retirement village. He also lists the various types of patients he sees at his clinic, like the 'one-liner' responders and the 'patient-by-proxy', as well as some of the more unique people he's received, which elicits many laughs from the audience. Dr. Kazmi is quick to inform us that no real names or specific details are being used, so if you’ve ever seen the doctor, your anonymity is secure.
Kazmi is highly relaxed on stage and there are a few times where he laughs at his own anecdotes before he's even told them to us, maintaining the casual atmosphere in the room. The UK doctor can also sing – and sing well – which he proves by performing a couple of songs, including a few delightful iconic Australian numbers. Kazmi has done his research on Melbourne and Australia, referencing specific locations and using appropriate “Aussie” lingo to better set the scene and allow for us to recognise the characters in his stories as people we can recognise in others, or even ourselves, and therefore engage more with his experiences and the show itself.

Throughout the show, Kazmi highlights moments of discrimination and judgements he has faced because of his name, the colour of his skin, and the fact that he is a Muslim. While light in tone, it is still a poignant reminder of how entrenched racism is in society and how we all have a part to play in ending it.

Doctor in the House could easily have gone down the path of medical jargon and stories purely for shock value, Kazmi has chosen a more realistic and down-to-earth approach to this show ensuring that we have a thoughtful and entertaining evening. While we laugh with him through what he shares, he is clearly a doctor who loves his work and genuinely cares for the people he looks after. He may have an impeccable bedside manner, but now Kazmi also has an impeccably funny show.

Venue: The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne
Season: Until 16 April | 8.30pm
Length: 60 minutes
Tickets: $32 Full | $28 Conc

Bookings: MICF website 

* Original review appeared on Theatre Press on 14 April 2017

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