Djalili - Behind Enemy
Haymarket Theatre, Leicester
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
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
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.