Review: Omid Djalili, Tour of Duty, Brigton Theatre Royal, Wednesday February 15


AFTER A BREAK from stand-up routines during the past three-and-a-half years, the big ‘fat man’ is touring the nation with his show, ‘Tour of Duty’.

A lot has happened since the Iranian Brit last padded the comedy circuit - the Arab Spring for example.

And he was determined to get his claws into the establishment, or rather the revolutions which have been bringing down establishments.

By his own confession, Omid’s chief subject is himself, a ‘fat, needy man pleading for attention’.

But of course he had a lot of points to make; savaging the political status quo between the Middle East and the West - and cultural norms alike.

Controversy is never far off Omid’s radar - giving Tony Blair the job of Middle East Envoy was like giving Hitler the job of Chief Rabbi, he said.

At one point, no pun intended, Omid said he saw no reason to make a ‘point’ and proceeded to give his Godzilla impression. Brilliant!

A bit more physical tomfoolery would have lifted the performance - after all it’s the comic’s big frame which people love more than anything.

There was an awful lot of self-reflection, religious and philosophical perspectives, and confessions of his mental struggles.

This inner-looking forms the foundations of his comedy. But as he noted on stage himself, it was the dinosaur impressions and famous dancing which brought the house down.

To be fair, his award-winning career spanning a multitude of Hollywood films, TV shows and theatre is fascinating. And he rightly drew on those experiences to make his ‘points’.

Having a dig at the BBC for employing people like himself with ‘foreign’ names but received pronounciation dialects was wonderful.

He bravely ventured into racism and took pot shots at all and sundry, including his own background.

The use of a big iphone prop projected at the back of the stage was also a quirky idea which worked.

We learnt new things about Omid too. His favourite dish is fried eggs on fried bread with honey.

In fact, I was thinking about that more than anything when he finally left the stage.

Perhaps that is Omid’s edge. He creates scenarios and blows up colourful pictures in your mind. And they stay with you after you have encountered the big fat man.