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Hardeep Singh Kohli - Chat Masala

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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Gilded Balloon Teviot
4-30 August, various times

The Chat Masala concept is quite a sound one: some of Hardeep Singh Kohli's fondest childhood memories are of spending time in the kitchen chatting with his mother and listening to music, so he replicates the experience, cooking for his interviewees, topping off the evening with a couple of musical numbers.

The combination of guests and musical acts is therefore what makes or breaks the show and as tasty as Hardeep's venison and raspberry curry smelt from the second row, it could not make up for a ropey selection on the night I attended.

Cooking first for Derek Dick - better known as Fish - lead singer of Marillion, it was obvious that Koli was getting to interview one of his true childhood heros. Fish spins a good yarn and talked openly about both his music career and his forays into the world of acting.

Koli then moved on to describe his second guest, Radio Forth DJ and perennial Edinburgh panto star, Grant Stott as "a man who needs no introduction". If the slightly confused faces of those sitting around me were anything to go by, this was not the case. The chance to interview Stott's more infamous brother, John Leslie, when he was brought out of the audience on the stage would have been a coup for some chat show hosts, but it was somewhat squandered by Koli's softball interview style.

The cooking and talking components of the show complete, the evening was topped off with two musical acts. The Segue Sisters, an uninspiring female trio gave a rendition of "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy From Company B".

At least the Segue Sisters were in keeping with the expectations of Koli's audience, most of whom I imagine had turned out on Friday on the back of the Glasgwegian's inoffensive television career. The void between their expectations and what was presented was made clear from the frosty response Vive Le Cabaret's Des O'Conner received for his song "Cheap Shite White Wine" and the way that Koli's off the cuff gags and one liners throughout the evening just didn't quite hit the mark.


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