Review: Jarred Christmas: Let’s Go Mofo – Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh.
Jarred Christmas has made a name for himself on these shores with years of big-hearted compere work. His larger than life buffoonery and sharp tongue means he is the go to MC for big events, and we’ve seen his distinctive face more and more recently thanks to a string of high profile telly appearances.
Despite his rising popularity, Christmas cannot compete with the Olympics closing ceremony and tonight his show is a little under half full; but this has no effect on the gusto with which he attacks proceedings. Starting with his own terrifying take on his national war dance, the Haka, Christmas gets straight to work doing what he does best – getting in and amongst the front row and mining it for laughs.
His high energy style and rapid wit sees good laughs roll in before he starts laying out the premise of his show. Firstly there’s his – not entirely sincere – desire to put on an hour of dance which is revisited briefly throughout the show, and his loose examination of attitudes, usually fairly simplistic comparisons between old and contemporary views. It’s hardly groundbreaking stuff, but Christmas’ gift for telling silly stories, punctuated by the odd gross-out aside, about the scrapes he gets himself into means they never feel a chore, despite the lack of grey matter tested in consuming them.
Indeed his stories were interjected throughout by short blasts of silly dance, in keeping with his wish for the show’s theme. These were generally well received by the audience, but ultimately amount to a fat man dancing badly on purpose, and I found myself frustrated by the inconsistency of the show’s content.
Whilst most of the material is middling to good, there are several instances where Christmas shows off a talent for more surreal and carefully crafted routines. One shouty rant about ‘the youth of today’ is excellently garnished with a deft punch line that I don’t see coming at all, whilst another routine about the universal comedy item, the rubber chicken, is hilariously subverted just as it looks to be heading into shady territory. These skits, in addition with his truly excellent forays into audience interaction, are particularly strong but are generally let down by the less original material – and the dancing.
Routines about struggling with the ‘N’ word as a white person, for example, and a story about a man dressed as a wizard and his novel approach to the Oyster card system are nothing new.
But just as the hour seems to be petering out a little towards the end, Christmas ensures that this show sticks long in the memory with an utterly brilliant ending. It’s thoroughly silly, involves the entire two front rows and had me absolutely creased up. I won’t spoil it for you, but it’s something that Vic and Bob would have ended an episode of Shooting Stars with at their absurd best.
Let’s Go Mofo is an uneven but fun show, with moments of real quality amongst Christmas’ gently amusing ditties – and a finale that’s almost worth the ticket alone.
Date of live review: Sunday 12th August 2012.