Some thin spots filled out with big laughs
By Matthew Farmer
In the biggest theatre space in the Melbourne Town Hall last night, we were treated to international comedy star Arj Barker, and his one-man show for MICF – Go Time! This is his philosophy of not letting your ego get in the way of something you might do in the future, because despite what that crazy little red-head tells you, tomorrow is not a day away, it does not exist. You are now. Your heart is now, its go time, right now. A great idea and a great message, but when mixed with toilet humour, it doesn’t quite stand for the whole sixty minutes.
The show starts with a musical number, which was a genuine surprise. It then continues through some poignant social commentary, embarrassing admissions, local restaurant reviews, all interspersed with 2013 copyrighted Arj Barker-isms, such as go build a pyramid and get to the point, or go get yourself a deck of cards, and deal with it.
The role of a comedian is to look at life from a unique point of view, to engage with you and to have you see the world through their altered eye sight. Arj made some strong comments about the factories in China making iPhones, the environment and the notion of ‘job creation’, which had you thinking, and then he dropped a comedy bomb onto you: showing you an empty palm on the left, while smacking you in the face with his right.
Arj engages with the audience well, and never misses a beat. If a joke fails, he owns it and then moves on. I have previously only seen Arj Barker on comedy festival specials or TV shows where he only has a bit part to play. To see him live for a whole 60 minutes however, felt a little forced. The front of the show worked well and was strong, but the ends were just a little bit frayed, although it did end with great toilet humour and another song and dance. Plus, he mingled with the public in the foyer right after for merchandise and photo opportunities, which is always good to see in a celebrity.
Arj’s show Go Time is a show that comes from his heart, has a lot of energy and good intentions. He will try his darnedest to uplift you and gosh darn, if it doesn’t work on some level for you.
Arj Barker’s Go Time is playing all Festival long at the Town Hall, except for Mondays. Tickets are $33 – $42.50 and can be bought online at ticket master, or at the venue.