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Edinburgh Fringe 2001 (316)
Edinburgh Fringe 2002 (354)Edinburgh Fringe 2003 (376)
Edinburgh Fringe 2004 (422)
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West End run (14)
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Omid Djalili: Behind Enemy Lines Perrier nominee
British-Iranian comic with a mix of political satire and belly-dancing.
No doubt about it, Djalili knows how to put on a show.
From belly-dancing to characters, from song to stand-up, this Iranian powerhouse puts his all into every performance.
It's an easily enjoyable, entertaining experience - but one with an essential lack of substance at its heart.
The big hook, of course, is September 11. You would hardly expect this country's leading Middle Eastern comedian (not the most crowded of fields, admittedly) to ignore the politics of the situation, and Djalili does make some valid, intelligent points.
But he does tend to examine fringe issues, rather than core ones. His finest routine, for example, revolves around media coverage, rather than any serious comment on the east-west divide. And he even gets a small laugh just from the very mention of the word 'pretzel' - though to be fair, he does back off the obvious gags.
Djalili also lacks the determination to stick to this vital subject, not quite courageous enough to let a monologue run long enough to go really deep, for fear of losing the attention of even one member of the audience.
Thus he continually breaks up the routine with enthusiastically-performed set pieces, making for a more stagey, theatrical experience than the personal relationship a stand-up traditionally has with his audience.
Such gimmicks, though, does mean that the show is never going to flag, Djalili is nothing if not committed to ensuring the audience is enjoying itself - even going so far as making some gratuituously ingratiating comments about THAT Archie Gemmel goal to appease Edinburgh's home crowd.
There's no doubt that Djalili is a fantastic and talented entertainer with an astounding stage presence, able to call on a vast array of accents, characters and theatrical trickery to keep interest up.
But as a comedian, he is patchy. Able to produce some brilliant moments such as the fabulous bait-and-switch moments provided by his Iranian accent, or the lovely circular argument with which he concludes his pseudo-political section, but elsewhere peddling comedy is too broad to be truly effective.
Crowd-pleasing, undoubtedly, but lacking real bite.
Brilliant show . Confronts issues with mature comedy. A breath of fresh air.
Unbelievable. Treat yourself. Open your mind. Learn, but above all love him...You won't be able to help yourself.
Omid Djalili 2008 tour
Omid Djalili: Tour Of Duty
Omid Djalili at the Queen's Hall
A Seriously Funny Attempt To Get The SFO in The Dock
Secret Policeman's Ball 2006
Big Fat Gypsy Gangster
Omid Djalili: Live 2008
Omid Djalili: Work in Progress
Omid Djalili Live [Fringe 2013]