As remarked by warm-up act Aaron Wood, Eshaan Akbar commands an eclectic mix of fans, having picked up loyal followers from the vastly different arenas of QI and the Have a Word podcast.
In the cosy Lowry Studio, a smaller room held within the Lowry Theatre, over the course of an hour Akbar tackled some of his personal experiences and extrapolated them out into bigger societal themes in his tour show ‘The Pretender’.
Key amongst these themes were race, through the prism of his own identity as being born and raised in Britain to Bangladeshi and Pakistani parents, and the struggles that presented as he felt simultaneously ‘othered’ in all those groups.
This is succinctly summarised on the comedian’s website, stating he is: “Too white to be Asian, and too Asian to be white.”
A confident and assured performer, the soon-to-be Netflix star touches these heavy, emotion-filled topics with a tone that immediately puts his audience at ease, necessary for a majority white audience to access the introspection needed to properly connect with the show.
The intimate venue only added to this atmosphere, despite the smaller size feeling like a steppingstone for a comedian that is surely eyeing up a larger room on his next tour, having had to add an extra date at the Quays Theatre due to demand.
As a wealth-manager-turned comedian, with brief stints in news and dance choreography in between, the 38-year-old is not short of an interesting anecdote.
Some of those, with a sad predictably, involve mind-boggling instances of overt racism directed at him but Akbar cleverly puts a funny twist on each one, even though the scenarios in their actuality must have come at an emotional cost.
With consistent media appearances, sell-out tour shows and becoming ever-more wedded to one of the biggest comedy podcasts in the country, Eshaan Akbar is a star undoubtedly still rising, with this tour a well-placed step in that journey.
More information about the remainder of Eshaan Akbar’s tour ‘The Pretender’ is available here.