Henning Wehn – Westphalia is Not an Option, 13/08/17, ★★★★

Anyone familiar with Radio 5 Live’s Fighting Talk show will be familiar with Henning Wehn and his amusing take on life in England. He’s built up a huge fan base in Edinburgh over the years and this year is managing to sell out a massive venue, The Queens Hall.

Putting on a two hour show for a sometimes impatient Fringe audience is a bold move. The show is split into two sections, also quite rare for a Fringe show. The opening is devoted to some his favourite bits from previous shows, as well as picking out the Germans in the audience. For those who haven’t seen him before, this section  gives a feel of what he likes to talk about, namely being German in Britain.

The second section features his brand new show, Westphalia is Not an Option. An hour that is built on what Brexit means for EU Nationals living in the UK, but also asking what it means to be an immigrant? The later of these thoughts put into his head when a British TV channel asked him to front a documentary episode of An Immigrant’s Guide to Britain. Until then he’d never considered himself an immigrant, he didn’t have to go through any harrowing ordeal to get here and are you still an immigrant when the place you’ve gone to is worse off?

His gentle ribbing reveals why he loves living in Britain, but makes sure no one here tonight is going to feel even a twinge of arrogance based on being born here. Ripping apart everything from the British work ethic, sport, building design, lack of planning, always doing things on the cheap and being as incompetent as we like, as long as we get a good story out of it. As expected he’s brilliant on the topic of sport, particularly during a long segment when he talks about going to the darts.

The set closes with some German style singing of the shows title, echoing the ultimately happy in tone show. There are much more serious and darker places he could’ve taken us on Brexit, but he elects to keep this lighthearted. He’s definitely fully integrated into British society and mostly he’s just here for a laugh.


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