Omid Djalili, Corn Exchange, Brighton

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The Independent Culture

No Agenda is an attempt at exploring ethnic stereotypes without being one himself. This involves a mini world tour of Indian humility, Irish bravado, and describing both Arabs and Jews as "two sides of the same coin: hooked-nosed, penny-pinching liars".

Although the portly performer's change of direction has meant ditching his much-requested belly-dancing section, in its place comes Iranian disco dancing. Djalili is nothing if not a crowd-pleaser.

Much as he may have wanted to jettison material on suicide bombers, a mainstay of his previous act, Djalili inevitably has to tackle the issue. He describes being afraid at an airport, looking out for suspicious characters, and realising that everyone is looking at him. "What about the Pakistani guy in uniform?" he protests, only to be told, "Sir, he's the pilot."

Meanwhile, Djalili is bewildered by the choice of Edgware Road as a target for terrorist bombings, describing that area of London as being up there with Damascus, Mecca and Medina as a site of Muslim heritage, and, of course, this allows him to express his doubt over the religious convictions of the bombers.

Elsewhere, his upbringing in Kensington is dealt with for the first time, but he stresses the dichotomy between that and his Chelsea-supporting persona, an unlikely incarnation exaggerated by his self-confessed Jekyll-and-Hyde reaction to heat.

It seems that Djalili is struggling to find identity and acceptance on all levels. In Edinburgh, where this show worked slightly better, he half-jokingly asked his audience, "I feel like you're not fired up yet, are you? Are you excited?" Watching Djalili I often find myself asking the same question. I want to be, but I'm not, and I suspect that the Brighton Comedy Festival audience feel the same.

That said, Djalili deserves a higher profile in this country than he already has. Familiar without being famous, Djalili's small-screen success has principally come in the US, where he has appeared in a Whoopi Goldberg sitcom and films including The Mummy and, more recently, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.

He has done some enjoyable cameos in the UK, in Black Books, for example, and the way forward for this charismatic performer may well be via the screen rather than on stage, judging by this offering.

Shepherds Bush Empire, London W6 (0870 771 2000), 6 & 13 November

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