Darren Bevan - TVNZ.co.nz'"Anil's show is a great night of entertainment - if you're even the most casual of movie watchers, you'll love it. And if you're not, you'll still love it thanks to his combination of winning personality, great stage presence and easy going charm."'open/close
Anil Desai's A Night At The Movies
Well, of all the comedy shows, one with a movie title was always going to be the one I went to see - you know, after all the films I've seen over the years.
Anil Desai is a UK impressionist whose career went global thanks to his spot on impersonations of movie stars.
So for opening night, let's just say a power cut at the venue, pouring rain and a crowd which seemed to want to derail him may not have been what he had in mind.
But thanks to boundless energy and enthusiasm, a lack of willingness to let anything get in the way, Anil emerged a nervy winner due to a combination of crowd banter, some mightily clever takes on some movie faves.
Anil reckons he's seen about 1000 movies over the past 3 decades and is as informed as anyone to be able to talk about movie etiquette, movie sex, why he fell in love (with the films, not the person proffering the sex) and relationships - because of what he's learnt on the silver screen.
And he's right.
But his biggest problem on the night is dealing with the reticent audience - after pleading with the audience at the start to get involved and ditch the usual reluctance, he finds it hard to attract volunteers to the stage - which is baffling because he's an affable guy, the show's a fun one and there's no reason to fear this guy with the microphone - he's a consummate pro, a great entertainer and a good night out.
It's a shame because it leads to some very funny moments - including live re-enactments of various film studio logos.
His Al Pacino / Jeff Goldblum / De Niro take on dealing with a relationship is effortlessly done as he switches from one persona to the next, leaving the crowd in spasms of contorted laughter as he nails each one's tics and vocal skills to perfection.
The highlight of the show - despite one guy's attempts to derail him - is a deck of cards which has movie names on; he chooses (after some co-ercing) to give those to a member of the audience and asks them to be shuffled and read out before launching into a string of impressions and details of how to do these characters. The list is enormous - and every single one of them is dead on.
But Tuesday in Auckland is a fickle night - and thanks to that audience member choosing to read out only his favourites, Anil's time to shine is sabotaged. However, it's a testament to how likeable Anil is that the crowd's on his side and the dick is fired from the volunteer job.
Anil's show is a great night of entertainment - if you're even the most casual of movie watchers, you'll love it. And if you're not, you'll still love it thanks to his combination of winning personality, great stage presence and easy going charm.
A movie buff who has turned his passion into a career, Anil Desai started in the BBC comedy Goodness Gracious Me.
His impersonations of movie stars are spot on, from Homer Simpson to Charlie Sheen to Jeff Goldblum, who he is supposed to resemble, albeit in a ``smaller'' way.
Anecdotes of how he fell in love with the movies - such as ``Have you seen The Silence of the Lambs? In India it's known as The Silence of the Cows'' - spice up the performance.
His impressions of Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible, Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean and an expressionless Keanu Reaves are impeccable.
The way he segues effortlessly from Robert de Niro to Al Pacino to Jeff Goldblum has to be seen to be believed.
Highly entertaining stuff from an acomplished performer.
Tim Richards, The Age'3.5 Stars - In an hour, Desai also banters entertainingly with the audience about his childhood movie-going and the lack of ethnic diversity in science fiction, but it's his impressions that really shine.'open/close
3.5 Stars - British comedian Anil Desai impersonates Jeff Goldblum he matches everything, including a top-notch imitation of the actor's voice. He then switches with ease between Goldblum, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. In an hour, Desai also banters entertainingly with the audience about his childhood movie-going and the lack of ethnic diversity in science fiction, but it's his impressions that really shine.