An engaging but often obvious hour
This article is from 2013.
He may be little known on these shores but, on Australian TV, Akmal is a familiar face; though not, he notes, quite as ubiquitous as Adam Hills. Much of his material concerns how he moved Down Under at the age of ten with his orthodox Christian parents, leaving his native Egypt behind.
At first unable to speak English (not even ‘peanut butter sandwich’), Akmal presents himself as the thick, practical joker in an otherwise educated family (including an academic father and two doctor brothers). It’s a seam of material that he would be wise to mine further, a unique angle from which to conjure some interesting characterisations.
However, Akmal falls down with some really obvious gags that have been done by better comedians many times before: the 72 virgins apparently promised to Muslim suicide bombers; how sperm must feel when they hit rubber or tissue rather than an egg.
Still, he invests all of his material with a great enthusiasm and, coupled with the fact he's a likeable performer, he largely gets away with it, successfully presenting us with an engaging enough hour of entertainment.
Assembly George Square, 623 3030, until 26 Aug, 8.50pm, £11–£12.50 (£10–£11).