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Jarred Christmas: Let's Go MoFo
Published on Saturday, 18 August 2012
4

4 stars

Gilded Balloon Teviot (venue website)
Comedy
1-26 Aug, 9:30pm-10:30pm
Reviewed by Craig Thomson

 Recommended for age 16+ only.

All Jarred Christmas really wants to do is dance.  Anyone who saw him do his turn as Madonna on Let's Dance for Comic Relief will have their own view on the advisability of that.  If you haven't previously watched him bust a groove, though, you'll be pleasantly surprised (or maybe shocked) by the exuberant physicality of the rotund Kiwi.

Christmas impressed as host of the Gilded Balloon launch event, and I knew I wanted to catch his full run.  Let's Go MoFo is a curiously nondescript title (although his introductory number – don't call it a dance – is a challenge in the same comically aggressive way).  The body of the show tends to a slightly softer and more reflective point of view, rather than that of the man-child braggadocio the moniker suggests.

His main concern is that he's a bit of a jerk, who hasn't done anything worthwhile in his life.  It's an interesting conceit – although there's always more laughs to be had in comedians discussing their shortcomings rather than their triumphs, and it can easily come across as just self-pity.  Thankfully Christmas is never far from a juvenile gag to remind us that this is all for fun.

While there is that narrative thread running through, it's not as tightly plotted as some other shows you’ll see at the Fringe.  That means there is plenty of flexibility for Christmas to go on asides, get in amongst the audience, and, yes, dance; but it also makes it harder to see where he's going with all this.  Of course, there's still room at the Fringe for an hour of stand-up that's simply jokes and banter – but here you sense that Christmas has a point, he's just not quite getting to it.

These concerns are largely allayed by the glorious madcap finale, in which Christmas reveals his 'special ability' that makes him stand out, and the audience (or bits of it, at least) are integral to the demonstration of this skill.  It's one of those moments where you think “I'd never have believed I'd get to do this, but I'm so glad I did!”  Cathartic and great fun, for both us and the comedian, all I can really say is to make sure you get in line early!

Although Christmas technically failed his challenge on the night I saw him (porcupines are not marsupials, for the record), he succeeded in delivering a great resolution to a fine show.  It's a very different experience to the version of Christmas we got at the Gilded Balloon launch – his Chortle biography, with faint praise, says merely that he won their 2010 Best Compère award, and I understand why.  But, if he ever hangs up his dancing shoes, this comedy business might do him well.

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FROM OUR ARCHIVES

These are archived reviews of shows from Edinburgh 2012.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.

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