Akmal: Red Flags

Akmal: Red Flags
Melbourne International Comedy Festival. The Athenaeum Theatre. March 27 – April 21, 2024

Akmal is here for the Melbourne Comedy Festival and loaded with hilarious jokes; he is a stalwart favourite in this annual event. The performance I attended was on Good Friday, and he gathered a crowded house who were there to be entertained by this contrary and controversial comedian on this Christian holy day.

Akmal runs on stage like a mischievous Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. His impish demeanour is ironically misleading, provoking his audience; some are brazen to respond and some shy away from his sharp acerbic tongue. He hones in on the young and the old; all are his prey. He always gives fast delivery and quick come back lines; he does not miss a trick.

Akmal, who has recently turned sixty, was brought up in Sydney’s Punchbowl, after migrating from Egypt when he was a child. He now lives in Rosebank in Northern NSW, known for its alternative lifestyle communities. He is charmed by his hippie friends and sees them as fodder for his more serious jokes on religion and politics in a baffled world that is rattled with hypocrisy. He gladly stirs his big topics into his comical melting pot, caught between his formative years and his ageing body. The audience rollick with laughter. He is non-stop!

He is a puppet on stage with no strings attached, boasting about his new red vest made by one of his many crafty hippy friends, whilst spouting knowledge on the “nature” of crystals and their healing powers and not the smoking variety that can easily be obtained in some seedy section of Punchbowl, he so denounces sheepishly to his gob smacked crowd.

Akmal is a rule breaker, he is not afraid to tell the truth, he loves making fun of himself and others, in the face of religion and the need for a belief system. He is sceptical, he is hilarious, and as always, a one-of-a-kind comedian.

Flora Georgiou

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