This Iranian Guy Walks Onto A Stage, Right...

Omid Djalili

Theatre Severn

Tuesday 24th January 2017

 

To see a full auditorium on a Tuesday on a  Winter’s night in January, is quite a sight in itself but the buzz was electric as the highy partisan crowd settled into place. They had come to worship at the temple of British-Iranian comedian Omid Djalili, and his off-beat and somewhat contentious view of life in 21st century Britain.

To get everybody in the mood the show kicked off with a surprise support act in the form of Boothby Graffoe.

Famed for his surreal sense of humour and his short but nevertheless to the point songs. He played a great gig and the house loved him. He was a very funny man working at the coal face of comedy and delivering the goods in an hysterical way. It was fairly clear the audience had come to laugh and he certainly seemed happy to supply the initial material to make that happen.

Omid Djalili the main course, walked on to raptures. It was clear the audience had been marking off the days on the calendar and were there to watch this slick, mercurial comedian work his socks off. For a full ninety minutes he delivered his material; mostly hit but some pretty awkward misses too.

One is free to observe, in shows that have in some way found Jews and Judaism good material that it really isn’t that amusing. People tend not to laugh. That’s because it’s not funny never has been! It is difficult to sit through feeling the discomfort of the audience. So really should a show include this sort of material? Maybe in the Kit-Kat club of 1930’s Berlin it might have raised a smile but even there the material would have to be strong. It rarely is!

It was disconcerting that Omid claimed to be the spokesperson of Iranian Transgendered community. Seriously?  Is Bruce/Caitlin Jenner really funny? No she is not nor is the struggle she has gone through to be who she really is. It takes a certain kind of bully to make jokes about that. With him as spokesperson the fascists will delight as he tears it all apart from the inside.  Not funny!

However some of his material was brilliant, beautifully timed and incredibly naughty in parts. That’s great, that’s what people want. But there is a rule that makes laughing at adversity in comedy acceptable. To make it funny laugh at your own adversaries:  Not someone else’s.

What was admirable was Djalili's confidence. He was a master and he was holding court.  As a famous and already established comedian he’s done a lot of leg work to achieve that height. He knew they were there to see him and he delivered the goods as he was expected to do.

One can always get a feel for how the show went down as one is leaving the theatre, tonight the exit polls suggested, as did the applause, that the vast majority were happy and satisfied.

It was impressive when he showed  evidence of research as he regaled quite a few meaty facts about Shrewsbury and its famous sons.  He was right with everyone and even surprised some Salopians in the audience too withstuff they didn’t know. That was warming and gave the gig a more homely feel as opposed to being part of a big tour. It shows prudence. After all I am sure with the reaction he generated tonight he will be  wanting to return again soon.

If he does go and see him, accept you won’t agree with everything he says instead embrace his daftness, after all it’s a pretty tough life at the moment for all of us , and if we can all laugh might it be a better world? Let’s hope so and take that as our maxim for the coming year! It’s better to laugh than to cry and a night with Omid Djalili will certainly get you giggling.

This is a Three Star review

Owen J. Lewis

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet.

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