When you think about great comedy clubs, places where you can go and see stand-up comics waxing funny about everything from mother-in-laws to mixed heritage, you wouldn’t imagine anywhere in Kuwait being on the list. Well, cousins Jasem and Khalid Al Shaheen want to change that.
Like all great places, Live Theatre is tucked away in a place nobody would expect to find it. So when you discover it, you feel like part of an exclusive club, privy to something nobody else knows about – and there’s nothing cooler than that. The concept behind Live Theatre as explained to me by Jasem is “A place where people can be entertained away from their homes,” away from their TVs, away from their laptops, iPads, and all the other distractions that surround us every day – something that can be hard to find in the Kuwait of today. But most of all, they want it to be a place where you can laugh.
And that’s precisely what I did on my visit to the club. The show, named Komic Sutra Kuwait, was brought over from Dubai where Komic Sutra and its founder and headliner Nitin Mirani are based. He also brought Egyptian comedienne Lamya Tawfik with him to bring a woman’s perspective to the proceedings.
I arrived at the Discovery Mall not really believing I would find a comedy club within this kids’ retail heaven but sure enough, tucked away in a corner of the basement, there it was. Stepping up to the red brick façade, featuring an iconic neon light – that could only be cooler if it flickered occasionally – I was more than curious to discover what was awaiting me inside. I wasn’t disappointed.
They’ve put some serious thought and effort into putting this place together. This isn’t just a room with a stage; it’s a full-fledged state-of-the-art theatre featuring a full light rig, HD projector and (very) big screen, and a sound system that could make some nightclubs blush. All this technology is wrapped up in a cool yet cosy two-hundred seat theater that feels enough like your living room to relax, but is decked-out coolly enough so you know that you’re really out for the night. We settled into one of the funky white sofas that make up the seating at Live Theatre – no flip-down-minimum-legroom-seating nonsense here – and appreciated the stepped down design of the seating, affording us a clear line of sight of the stage below. This great view is the same from all the seats in the house. Putting audience comfort first was one of the main priorities for the founders, “we want this to be a place where people feel special; we want to offer them a first-class experience in this first-of-its-kind venue in Kuwait.” But the cousins did enough research to know that the performer should also feel at ease when on stage. For this reason all the food served at Live Theatre is finger food to avoid the clang of cutlery taking away from the funny. And nobody wants the comic turning their razor sharp wit on them for interrupting the routine by introducing fork to plate! They really do look out for everybody here.
The cousins’ original plan was to open a restaurant but when they really thought about it, they wanted to start something that didn’t already exist in Kuwait. They wanted to bring a new form of entertainment to the country and they wanted to make people happy. Drawing on inspiration from the comedy club institutions of the US and the UK, they set out to design the Live Theatre to the very highest of standards. The red brick design from the entrance continues inside wrapping around the auditorium and framing the ample stage beautifully. The performers have plenty of room up there to flex their funny muscles, and can wander freely to all sections of the stage if they fancy a little bit of audience participation.
Bahraini stand up Imran Al Aradi was billed to perform but unfortunately couldn’t make it, but this gave up-and-coming Kuwaiti funny man Khalid Ahmed Yahya – Live Theatre’s in-house MC – a chance to get on stage and try out his material as he filled in (look out for his upcoming shows). Lamya got some big laughs, especially from the women, but it was Nitin Mirani who really brought the funny. He talked about everything from the reaction to his name in Arabic-speaking countries (funny apparently…) to his dad being on Facebook and having only two friends -Nitin and his brother. He has the easy manner of a professional stand-up; delivering his routine like a friend telling a story, and his confidence in the material is evident when he is on stage. I was most impressed at his ability to deliver a clean performance without sacrificing humour – something not all comics are capable of.
Alongside the comedy nights, the venue is also available for corporate or private hire for four hundred and fifty Dinars per day and is the only commercial theatre in Kuwait, making it a truly unique location. With its fully equipped audio/visual set-up, comfortable seating and trendy décor it can cater to any need. Utilizing on their location they are also offering kid-friendly shows during the daytime such as Sponge Bob shows, so look out for something different for the kids, too.
I laughed harder than I have done in a long time and thoroughly enjoyed a fresh take on entertainment in Kuwait. Live Theatre is a great venue and the comedy nights are definitely worth checking out if you’ve been longing for a great night out and something a little different.