Why Now – #NotAllMen – by Teddy Coward
The winner of Best Show at Leicester Comedy Show 2021, Esther Manito takes her #NotAllMen show to the Edinburgh Fringe, delivering an hour of punchy, personal wit.
#NotAllMen Is A #MustSee
Funny Women – #NotAllMen – by Kate Stone
This in turn gives Esther an opportunity to critique the term ‘Middle East’. A year or so of home-schooling in lockdown has clearly made Esther rather deft at boiling a point down and she gives us a very brief but thorough education on why ‘Middle East’ is such a flabby geographical definition. But it’s clearly a rich seam well worth mining.
Voice – #NotAllMen – by Saskia Calliste
Esther has a lot to say, and she’s not wrong about any of it.
There are certain people in this world who will see the name of Esther’s show and assume she’s a radical feminist with no time for men in her life, regardless of their role. Others might assume she’s one of those women that the male species have brainwashed into defending them when they inflict atrocities against women and girls. Well, you’re both wrong, because Esther is neither. And #notallmen is a smart, well thought-out stand-up routine with a strong message, and a lot of swearing.
The List – #NotAllMen – by Murray Robertson
Theatrical and energetic performance covering toxic behaviour and her offbeat family
Entering her stage to the wretched lyrics of Robin Thicke’s ignominious ‘Blurred Lines’, Esther Manito starts to defend the song’s startling misogyny. It’s an endeavour that she quickly abandons lest it physically infect her. Despite this opening, #NotAllMen isn’t the radical call to arms that the title might suggest, although she does address toxic masculinity and coercive behaviour in an entertaining hour full of energy.
The daughter of a ‘Geordie’ mother and an ‘Arab’ father, Manito has a distinct world view, not least when it comes to the abundance of fictional Middle-East countries in popular entertainment. Closer to home, she’s baffled by the behaviour of family members, including the way her ‘stalkery’ mother got together with her father by pursuing him across Beirut using all the guile of a secret agent. Manito is also incredulous that her Lebanese relatives simply cannot understand what it is she does for a living, as if being a comedian is an impossible concept to grasp.
There are splashes of theatricality to Manito’s act such as a perfectly timed stage exit, and the look in her eyes frequently betrays her assertions. Undeterred by the heat in one of the Fringe’s sweatiest rooms, Manito puts in a winningly physical performance dappled with moments of controlled mania.
Evening Standard – #NotAllMen
“At times it’s like Victoria Wood has taken the mic” Radio Times
‘Manito skilfully weaves her own personal story with a wider look at gender issues in society’ ★★★★
Three Weeks Edinburgh – #NotAllMen – by Louise Jones
Esther Manito prefaces her show by pointing out there will be feminist material, almost as if it’s a content warning. This is a shame, because there’s some amazing fire in Manito’s performance and her social commentary is savvy, sharp and complicated. It can’t be an apology: she’s anything but apologetic. Her frank send up of nineties masculinity and Saturday morning cartoon racism pumps otherwise shocking realisations with plenty of punchline. She revisits a few topics and this approach allows her to pull back and reveal on graffitied genitalia, no less. Esther Manito’s Essex frankness is instantly likeable, her honest appraisal of family life brilliant and any rote material feels like a footnote in the annals of Comedians Having to Acknowledge COVID.
One4review – #NotAllMen
The delightful Ms Manito greeted us at the door and said goodbye from there at the end, and the bit in between was accomplished and smoothly delivered and not at all like a sixth-ever performance, performed without the benefit of previews to iron out the creases. Ms Manito is immediately likeable, creating warmth in the audience which carried us through a slightly messy middle with its couple of lines that don’t quite land (confusion in response, rather than hostility) to an ‘ending’ section that was, in fact, most of the show, but also fluently delivered, absorbing, and rose to a punchy end.
Best Show Award Leicester Comedy Festival 2021 – #NotAllMen
Edinburgh 2019 – Quotes and Reviews – Crusade
Funny Women Best Show Shortlist https://funnywomen.com/2019/09/02/2019-funny-women-awards-best-show-shortlist-announced/
“Esther Manito: Lebanese British women….. incredible comedian.” Edfest Magazine http://www.edfestmag.com/comedy/esther-manito-review
“Ms Manito is a confident comic with a likeability factor which can do her no harm. Her stage presence and delivery enhance her well written material and it is easy to see why she is doing so well, both nationally and internationally,” One4Review http://one4review.co.uk/2019/08/esther-manito-crusade-4/#.XW1vvWjYrdQ
“ the vigour of her delivery and the importance she clearly puts on audience banter. However, when combined with the topics of feminism, racism and the empathy she seems to have for each group mentioned, it’s clear that Esther is bringing a much-needed voice to comedy.” – Funny Women https://funnywomen.com/2019/08/12/esther-manito-crusade/
“A strong debut show about identity….A comedian with keen instincts, and punchlines often delivered with a nice turn of phrase and a vivid metaphor.” Fest Mag
“Still a relatively new comic, she’s got her wired persona nailed down hard. Manito is a performer with undeniable stage presence.” – The Scotsman
“Manito is an engaging and promising comic who will staunchly stand up for what she believes, and that alone makes her an interesting proposition.” – Chortle
“Crusade proves Esther Manito to be an astute observer of everyday daftness as well as being able to tackle the bigger issues with wit and guile.” – The List
“Esther Manito’s aptly-named show Crusade is a hilarious and biting tour-de-force against both macro and micro-level attempts to box and confine the space in which contemporary women operate, from far-right social media trolling to judgy parents in the playground.” – The Morning Star https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/c/female-comedians-given-particular-prominence-year-gloriously-embrace-opportunity-side
Middle East Eye Review 2019 https://www.middleeasteye.net/discover/edinburgh-2019-arab-performers-festival-and-fringe
“I’ve seen the combination of natural wit, careful craft, superb performance skills and sharp observation that goes into her work, and I’ve seen audiences of all kinds convulsed with wild laughter, sudden recognition and scandalised ‘did she just say that?’ disbelief. In taking cultural observations and making them universal, Esther has a rare and brilliant ability to combine humour, intelligence, flights of fantasy and brilliantly captured moments from daily life, them spin them into something brilliant, moving and outrageous. She is always hilarious and never cruel. I look forward to seeing her star shine ever brighter and can’t wait for what she does next.” – Bidisha BBC Broadcaster and Journalist
‘We’ve loved every minute working with Esther. Her stand up is bold, original and unapologetic – and of course laugh out loud funny. This channels well to the page and her contribution to our publication Don’t Panic, I’m Islamic: Words and Pictures on How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Alien Next Door (a Sunday Times Humour Book of the Year 2017) is often singled out as an outstanding piece of autobiographical, deeply human piece of writing. We have run numerous events with Esther, which are not only hugely popular, but also so enjoyable for everyone involved. Esther is a dream to work with.’- Saqi Press
‘Esther Manito : Her Arab roots provide her with plenty of comic material. She is confidently funny and at Arabs Are Not Funny shows she has always showed remarkably good stage presence and audience control..’ Aser El Saqqa – Arts Canteen