A British comic writer plays no less than 21 characters in a new play sharing her experiences of growing up in a traditional Muslim family.

'Burq-Off!' is a new one-woman show by writer and stand-up comic Nadia Manzoor, who has dared to explore the classic migrant's' conflict between the need to better integrate and the religious and cultural demands of their own communities.

After a series of sold-out performances in the United States, the show arrives in London from September 9

Written, produced and performed by 31-year-old Nadia, 'Burq-Off!' is an auto-biographical 'variety' show in which Nadia draws on her own life experiences to play 21 different characters - from her domineering Pakistan-born father and radicalised twin brother, through her saucy school friend and overbearing aunts, to the Islamic studies teacher with a sideline in pornography.

The show explores the myriad conflicts of identity, sexuality and culture Nadia had to contend with growing up in a conservative Pakistani family in 90's England, and provides a rare woman's perspective into the eternal quest to belong to two wildly opposing cultures.

 

South Wales Argus:

 

'Burq-Off!' was one of the biggest selling Off Broadway shows of 2013 and, following a sell-out run in San Francisco, is coming to London for a special week-long run at the Cockpit Theatre in Central London.

US news and opinion portal the Daily Beast said of Nadia and 'Burq Off!': "Few artists address the clash of tribalism and modernity with more wit and insight than Nadia P. Manzoor and her show. 

“She not only wrote this comedy gem, she inhabits twenty-plus characters to tell her story, a story that many in her community are too afraid merely to talk about."

 

South Wales Argus:

Nadia with Tara Elliott, Director and Marina Romashko, Production Manager

Born in the US to Pakistani parents but raised in leafy Hertfordshire from the age of three, Nadia's return to London is a not-insignificant step for the young comic.

'Burq-Off!' raises difficult questions and provides an uncompromising look at a variety of issues that continue to blight the close-knit and insular British Pakistani community: from the tribalism that is often carried over by first generation immigrants to issues such as sex, girl's education and marriage between blood relatives as well as the radicalization of young second and third generation migrants.

Born in Chicago, Nadia Manzoor grew up in Hertfordshire. Her Muslim parents, originally from Sindh province in Pakistan, were deeply conservative.

 

South Wales Argus:

 

As she grew up, Nadia - as with countless other children of immigrant families who choose tribalism over integration - struggled with the rigidity at home and the strange 'freedoms' the outside world offered.

After university, as her identity conflict intensified, Nadia fled to Boston amid threats to her and her partner. 

In the land of the free, her relationship faltered and her estrangement from her family deepened.

She later moved to New York where she dealt with the turmoil in her life by penning a poignant and funny memoir in-between teaching improvisational skills to women in the Big Apple.

 

Burq-Off runs from  Tue 9 Sep 2014 to Sun 14 Sep 2014 @The Cockpit, Gateforth Street, Marylebone, London NW8 8EH.  Telephone 020 7258 2925

Tickets: £18 / £12 conc.
Please note: This is not a family friendly show!