Nigel Ng: Culture Shocked @ Soho Theatre (Chinese Arts Now Festival 2020) Review

With a mission to place more work by East Asian artists on our stages, Chinese Arts Now Festival returns with a line up of digital, dance, theatre, music, comedy and so much more. Debuting last year, CAN 2020 offers a ‘bigger, bolder, and braver celebration of work’ – Nigel Ng’s stand up comedy show Culture Shocked a brilliant addition to this year’s event.


Originally from Malaysia, Ng immediately gauges the audiences cultural heritage, with fellow audience members originating from Taiwan, China as well as Malaysia and the diaspora – a beautiful reminder of just how multi-cultural London is. The evening starts as it means to go on, a laugh a minute observation on cultural heritage, expectations, realities, attitudes and more.

Ng throughout creates a space for East Asian audiences to connect and resonate, Culture Shocked a show brilliantly showcasing just how important representation is. The evening is easy going, so much so my fellow audience member beside me turns to me confirming Ng’s observations as correct – an added unpredictable element to the show that makes the 60 minutes fly by – serving as a reminder as to how comedy can continually be shaped on the spot.

Ng crafts a multi layered show connecting with his East Asian audience about commonalities, as well as breaking down differences between East Asian cultures. He’s also able to address adapting to living in the UK, reminding British audiences of their colonial history and the commonwealth, unapologetically putting forward his experiences and perspective. The evening is unifying; although Ng is in the starring role, it’s as if he starts up a conversation where we all question our own history. Hilarity ensues as everyday observations are placed under the spotlight, uncomfortable truths brought to the fore.

A fun, entertaining evening that doesn’t take itself too seriously. 4/5

Review written by Lucy Basaba.

Nigel Ng: Culture Shocked is currently showing until Monday 18th May 2020 at Soho Theatre. To find out more about the show, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop