The Road to Edinburgh in Dubai

We check out UAE comedy troupe that’s heading to the Fringe

It was a good night for comedy in Dubai. Downstairs, The Laughter Factory hosted one of its strongest bills of the year. Down the road, brand new home grown troupe ComedyDubai marked the final date of a whirlwind first season, which has seen them go from nothing to notoriety in just weeks. And upstairs Dubomedy, celebrated being the first UAE-based comics to earn a place at the renowned Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Dubomedy was founded four years ago by Italian-American comic Mina Liccione and Emirati stand-up Ali Al Sayed. The fact they just happen to be married is comedic gold. It’s a classic odd-couple double act; where Liccione assaults the audience with high-pitched yelps and manic gestures, methodical Al Sayed speaks and strolls in measured tones. Where she ploughs life in gritty New York for material, he slyly knocks Emirati entitlement. And yet the glue that holds them together never gets sticky, the fleeting references to their relationship neither one-note nor overpowering.

Wittily dubbing their Edinburgh show ‘Big In Dubai’, the duo is taking two UAE-based Brits along to complete the bill. It was this quartet who performed the celebratory ‘The Road to Edinburgh’ show at The Address Dubai Marina on July 4.

Ray Addison opened up with a tight, energetic, scripted routine packed with amusing local references, including his opener that paints Sheikh Zayed Road as an elaborate death race. Jamie Johnson shifted things from the global to the personal, dryly dissecting his weight and his marriage with a painfully funny clinicism.

Liccione ramped things up a gear, stringing together Michael Jackson impersonations, dance routines, hilarious accent parodies and seasoned set-pieces in a stunning, scattergun approach. Husband Al Sayed was the able antithesis, his calm delivery dealing in polished anecdotes and observations which were impossible not to laugh at.

Lastly, a special note must be go to compere Omar Ismail, who won’t be going to Edinburgh, but surely deserves to, with a relaxed, witty and quick-fire manner – and perhaps the best joke of the evening concerning a superhero called ‘Wasta-Man’

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