One of the ten Fringe Scholarship winners (awarded to shows that expand and diversify the Fringe community), charismatic comic Sofie Khan grew up with a Mexican Catholic mother and a Pakistani Muslim father in a predominantly Black and Puerto Rican Chicago neighborhood. I liked that this show presented a multi-culti stew of worlds I know little about. Sofie cooks up a deliciously funny and poignant solo show.
I loved Sofie’s warm, relaxed, upbeat stage presence immediately. She is so inviting. I loved her positive motto: “If you judge a book by its cover, you miss out on the story.” Sofie tells her story very well, relating the many instances where her “cover” has indeed been judged—by cashiers, TSA agents, White House staff (to name a few). Her story is both unique yet highly relevant as our country becomes even more of a melting pot and we’re all “mixed” in some way (mine is a strict Catholic mom and Atheist dad, which was difficult in its own way.)
Sofie reads our minds by answering such questions as: Does she identify more with her ‘Mexi’ side or her ‘Stani’ side? Has she been a victim of a hate crime? What holidays does she celebrate? All these questions and many more are answered along with her imparting sincere wisdom about all of us being part of the World Community, and wanting to create a “safe space and understanding for all…especially for LGBTQ and Muslim individuals”. (To that end, Sofie has partnered with the Naz & Matt Foundation which tackles “homophobia triggered by religion to help parents accept their children”. Brava.)
Though Sofie is “charismatic AF” (to quote the kids today), a compelling performance and a well-told tale is often not enough to make a solo show riveting. It must be theatrical as well. (Otherwise, I could just listen to it on “The Moth”. I love seeing solo shows at the Fringe and how they run the gamut from basic stand-up to the use of multi-media, props, and other elements to amp up the show. I liked how tightly directed MexiStani is (by solo show dynamo Jessica Lynne Johnson) and uses projections, audience participation, impersonations, and Sofie even performs a rap song to further entertain the audience. All of the elements add up to a very theatrical and highly entertaining show. So entertaining that the serious themes slipped by my brain and straight into my heart and had me thinking about the show days later.
What I didn't like
I liked it all.
My overall impression
One of the ten Fringe Scholarship winners (awarded to shows that expand and diversify the Fringe community), charismatic comic Sofie Khan grew up with a Mexican Catholic mother and a Pakistani Muslim father in a predominantly Black and Puerto Rican Chicago neighborhood. Such a multi-culti stew makes for a deliciously funny and poignant solo show. Creating a solo show is not easy. It takes more than having a charismatic performer and good story. Sofie adds projections, a rap song, impersonations, audience participation…all of the elements add up to a theatrical and highly entertaining show. It was so entertaining that the serious themes (growing up mixed race, acceptance, LGBTQ issues, Islamophobia, homophobia, arranged marriages, tolerance, love and peace) slipped right by my brain and straight into my heart. I thought about the show and its themes for days.