Live reviews

Omid Djalili - Behind Enemy Lines,
Haymarket Theatre, Leicester

If you don’t know who Omid Djalili is then you might be wrong. Not only is he a hugely talented comedian but a versatile actor, Omid has appeared in the Mummy, Spy Game and Gladiator. If you still can’t picture him then he is a short, slightly rotund Iranian kebab-shop owner look-alike.
Amusing already isn’t he.

Well if you like laughing and haven’t been fortunate enough to see one of Omid’s stand-up shows then get to see one whenever you can. Beg, steal or borrow to be there. Omid is one of the funniest people of the comedy circuit today.

The bad news is that the Behind Enemy Lines gig was the last date on a recent hectic tour that Omid embarked upon, and part of the comedy festival in Leicester. He does plan to write some new material after the current well-earned break his is about to take, so it’s not all bad news.

As the title suggests, the themes of many of Omid hugely enjoyable sketches are based on the state of the world post September 11th. Not only is it a difficult thing to do to gets laughs from such an awkward topic but it seems even more insurmountable a task to do without offending almost anyone and everyone. Yet not only does Omid do this he also manages to offer a global perspective to the audience that harnesses a world view of a collective planet with one species, rather than a world concerned with wars and terrorism.

He also offers snippets of information from his part of the world, Afghanistan not only bordering Iran (where Omid hails from) but much of Afghanistan speaks Farsi, the Iranian language. He leaps on this proclaiming Farsi spoken by the Afghans to be the equivalent to the Geordy accent of the middle-east.
Not limiting himself to matters overseas, he describes Tony Blair showing his true Geordy nature when he confronts Osama Bin Laden, with the help of John Prescott.

Interspersed throughout the evening Omid suddenly becomes an Indian bingo caller shouting out numbers in the familiar fashion with an Indian twist. The show’s first finale was an old favourite,(a routine that he performed on the 90’s ITV talent showed that was hosted by Jonathan Ross) has Omid doing his best to show a typical Iranian male strutting his disco moves at the local nightclub to the sound of Le Freak by Chic, and yes Omid is even more limber than he looks.

Omid is undoubtedly a unique talent that for some reason hasn’t quite got the wider exposure he deserves but it will only be a matter of time before that changes given the quality of his shows

Harry Lime


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