Printable CopyAKMAL
Until 21 Mar 2021

Review by Lance Jones

Adelaide is very fortunate in these uncertain times to have a Fringe at all, let alone have some of Australia’s most well-known acts grace us with their presence. Akmal certainly fits that bill. He is very well known and has been around for a while now, so it’s hardly a surprise that he pulled a COVID version of a “full house” in checkerboard fashion at The Flamingo at Gluttony.

The crowd came to see a “name” and they weren’t disappointed. His comic timing and mastery of the narrative was well worth it.

Originally from Egypt, Akmal told stories of his childhood growing up with a view of the Pyramids looming just outside his parent’s apartment window. His tales were amusing, almost cute at times, which made the audience relate to this little cheeky bloke. In fact, his cheekiness endeared him even more when he singled out a few random punters for special treatment. That sort of comedy must be very difficult, as like Forrest’s box of chocolates, you really don’t know what you’re going to get. The night this reviewer attended, he had a body builder and a twenty-year old carpenter firmly in his sights. Yes, as you can imagine, steroid and Jesus jokes were de rigueur. It would be worth it to see what material he is provided with at his next show.

Akmal was particularly skilled when presented with the almost expected heckler. I am sure most stand-up comedians are well prepared for such interruptions, and some even incorporate them into the act. Akmal did this, as expected, yet this evening, his reaction to a particularly difficult and extremely rude heckler was sublime. The individual in question sat in the front row and simply would not get off his phone. Not at all. Akmal’s handling of the matter was almost like dispensing justice. The heckler certainly deserved it and we all laughed at him. Yes, Akmal was once again provided with a rich source of material and he just went with it. The audience were in stitches!

The ability of this seasoned performer to manufacture comedy almost out of thin air is impressive. Did he have a set script? I think so. Did he follow it? Perhaps occasionally. Was the show funny? Very much so. His ad-libbing was wonderfully fresh. Then there is that face. Akmal has a grin that makes you start to chortle as soon as he walks on stage. He presents an edgy front that creates an expectation that something is about to go off, and it certainly does.

Akmal is one of the “names” this Fringe, and we are fortunate to have him here. His show is hilarious and should be a definite starter for your Fringe list.

Rating: 4.5 stars (out of 5)