Nabil scares and inspires me.
We filed into the pizza oven of Pleasance Besides, and the user directed me to a central second-row seat, but no one would sit directly in front of Nabil. The result? I had excellent eye contact, albeit through a window frame of white families, as Nabil said he doesn’t like people and has a liberal white guy as a pet.
I’m a libral white guy. Mohamed Nasir Nabil Abdul Rashid bin Suleman Obineche is taller and broader than me, much stronger, and from Croydon.
If you’re offended by the idea of adopting a white guy as a pet, that’s the point. Nabil holds a mirror up to day’s culture, and if what you see seems wrong when applied to you – then it’s terrible and yet something we do to other people.
I left the gig sure that Nabil is a great father. His family is his focus.
I also thought about labels. Nabil dislikes picking a “left” or “right” tag for his politics, as both describe interlocked parts of the same machine.
Nor, I think, is Nabil too happy with comedians holding up “ADHD diagnoses” as shields. Why? Such behaviour wields a broad brush that might get the whole disorder labels associated with such things.
In contrast, the label of “culture” is one the comedian is happy to have and use to explain behaviour and decisions.
What to expect
Nabil uses comedy to explore hot issues such as racism and Islamophobia. We look at British culture and politics while touring the gangs of London and Westminster.
Stereotypes (labels?) feature in the impactful performance, as do our perceptions and motivations, as Nabil shares his thoughts, giving us plenty to think about.
It’s tough listening at times. The show is 16+, and very much doubt if all the children/young adults in the baking heat of Pleasance Beside hit that guideline age. However, Nabil’s harsh truth, the pill purple, is something we need the next generation to think about today.
I’ve mentioned the heat. Have water, wear a t-shirt, acknowledge that Pleasances Beside is heavily affected by the weather outside, and you’ll be all right. That said, it does lend itself to the intensity of the experience. Nabil stands, sits down, surges back to his feet and looks the crowd in the eye.
Vibe and performance
Intense and provocative. I had no previous experience with Nabil Abdulrashid, but I would see him again. I want to see him tear shreds out of politicians in TV debates, as I’m sure he could do it.
Nabil, who has a criminal conviction, jokes about crime, painting it as a fact of life. That might be true, but it might be unsettling too. This comedian might be popping up on TV and radio, but that does not make him an establishment figure.
There are tears. Nabil had his head in his hands and reduced to little whimpers as he recalled his history of mental distress and how that impacted his children. He gives the audience the full force of his anger and upset at the world but does not shield himself from that.
I was asked by a friend afterwards whether The Purple Pill is a gig you’d take a date to. Good question! It depends on the people involved, but I’d know the conversions (or lack thereof) about the topics raised by the Londoner would absolutely influence how that potential relationship developed (or whether that would be the end of things).
Powerful and engaging.
Nabil Abdulrashid: The Purple Pill is a no-holds-barred look at our cultural challenges and the messy world we’ve created.
There’s anger here, genuine and heart-felt hurt at the world, and your reaction to that might be profound. You might get angry back, then how that channels will likely influence your enjoyment of the gig.
I was enthralled and scared, and impressed. Labels and excuses are, I argue, dangerous; we need to step up and have some personal responsibility. If we all do it, the world will be better.