Review by JC Harvey for Open Media
Before yet another sell-out crowd, Akmal Saleh delivers quality entertainment with his own unique brand of ridicule, imitation and criticism.
With sarcastic wit wrapped in an annoying mock-bogan twang, Akmal’s show for this year’s festival revolves around identity and the irony of belonging, pointing out with humour and mockery the tribalism which plagues us all.
From petrol heads and politicians to surfer dudes, paranoid conspiracy theorists to violent alcoholic miners itching for vegan blood, Saleh spares none the whip.
His subtly extreme style attempts to reveal to the audience that the choices we make become the characters we are, and that clan mentality has become ridiculous in its quirky, cliquey divisiveness.
We all enjoy a good laugh at the stupid, crazy stuff people do, and Akmal shows he is just as stupid and judgemental as the best of them, with self-deprecating tales of bad judgement and missed opportunities.
With a career spanning decades, Akmal Saleh knows his audience and he can work the crowd. His excessive, zany bogan-bashing style has kept him off the dole since at least 2002.
His style has strength in considered, well rehearsed observational humour, tall tales, and practiced interactions with the front rows, but, as with his years on radio, improvisation can leave him grasping at straws.
Whether you are a fan or a critic, Akmal Saleh will not just make you laugh, he will give you pause to consider the role you’ve chosen to play, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll finally understand that you are a minority of one. Just like the rest of us.