Stand-up Janine Harouni's debut UK tour takes in Brighton

Following a smash-hit run at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival – which she completed just ten days before giving birth – Janine Harouni is on her debut UK tour with her brand-new show Man’oushe, with dates including February 17 at Brighton’s Corn Exchange.
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Touring as a mum inevitably brings its complications: “You have just got to be so much more organised about everything. But I’m thrilled to be embarking on my first-ever UK tour, and not just because it gives my nipples a break from the milk vampire that lives in my home. Or, as my husband calls him, our son.

“I did my first show in 2019 and I was planning on doing a little tour in 2020 and but then Covid had other things in store! I did record a special which is on Amazon Prime, and I had been invited to New York for a few performances and I was going to start there but Covid was pretty rubbish for everyone. It was really tough because I had had a good start. The show went well and I won a couple awards and I got nominated for the best newcomer at the Fringe. There was a lot of momentum going and I was starting to develop more self-confidence about my performance and about my writing. And then suddenly it all stopped. But actually part of it was quite nice. In the run-up to the Fringe it was all incredibly busy and then at least you knew that if you were having a break it was at a time when everyone else was having a break as well which was comforting.”

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Then things started to emerge: “I was cast in Batman. I did two weeks on the film, the new Robert Pattinson movie and it was fun. It was fun to be suddenly normal. It was just so big. There were hundreds of people and I was coming from months and months of lockdown so it was really quite strange.

Janine Harouni (pic by Matt Stronge)Janine Harouni (pic by Matt Stronge)
Janine Harouni (pic by Matt Stronge)

“But I had managed to do some things. There were different lockdowns, weren’t there, and I did a few Zoom gigs which were awful things to do. Some were nice but the technology is really not there. It's very hard to talk over laughter. But I did a few Zoom gigs and a few socially-distanced gigs. I did a really strange one where they just put a plastic divider through the audience as if one half of the audience was visiting the other half of the audience in prison – or as if one half of the audience were all bubbled together and the other half of the audience were all bubbled together. It was really bizarre.”

All of which makes it even nicer to be finally on the road: “The show is mostly frozen in time, about deciding whether or not to get pregnant, about trying to get pregnant, about finding out what parenting is all about, talking about my C-section and then having my son. It's a full-on section about my life that is now closed but maybe I will talk more about my baby in other shows.”

The precious moment came after about six weeks when her son smiled: “People talk about this magic moment of instantly bonding with your baby but I must admit that I really struggled at first and felt very overwhelmed and was really worried that I was getting it all wrong but then when he smiled I finally felt like I was a mum.”

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