For a British comedian just starting to emerge in popular culture in Australia, Romesh Ranganathan has already amassed a large and appreciative local audience. It’s a following well deserved on the basis of Irrational, a routine built on ruminations about various aspects of his family life, background, likes, and particularly dislikes.
Ranganathan’s grouchy musings are first rate, aided by his resting grumpy face, they cover a wide variety of irritations with many a commercial icon, from Starbucks and Wagamamas to Gogglebox and Iggy Azalea. All subjects, and complaints, easy for an audience to identify with, making Ranganathan almost heroic in his protests. A grump of the people, if you would like.
While many a comedian has a set based around ‘you know what I hate?’ Ranganathan counters it neatly with a cheeky grin that won’t allow you to find him a miserable git. Every bit of his irascibility with others is countered by an equally scathing observation of the self-deprecating variety. From tearing down his own looks and parenting skills, to diminishing his success on television by boiling it down to meeting quotas. Ranganathan will heckle himself before anyone else gets the chance to.
Identifying that he understands little of his Sri Lankan Tamil heritage, his own mother even takes pot shots at his lack of ‘Asian identification’, particularly well demonstrated through irritation at his lack of linguistic knowledge. Ranganathan doesn’t mind stirring up racial stereotypes and quickly cutting them down.
Having toured Irrational around the UK with sell-out shows for the best part of 2016, this production comes to us well oiled and with nary a moment unfilled with laughter. Now with extra performances added he’s sure to leave the country with an even bigger following than the one he has found embracing him upon his arrival in Melbourne.