Jarred Christmas: The Hero Show

Note: This review is from 2007

Review by Steve Bennett

Jarred Christmas always wanted to be a superhero – cape, ability to fly, the works. The only problem is that he seems stuck in the role of the civilian alter-ego of clumsy buffoon with thick-rimmed glasses.

But this gregarious Kiwi does have one special power; the ability to tell a tale with huge charm and self-effacing wit, which leaves a warm glow in the heart. We should call him Feelgood Man.

The Hero Show is essentially a collection of tales where his foolish behaviour has left him falling somewhat short of his ideal, whether it’s finding himself riding a wild emu for an ill-advised bet, or simply failing to chat up a woman with the smooth-tongued charm he wants.

This is a long way short of being idolised like his heroes: from the comic-books, from movies such as 300 or Die Hard 4.0, or even real-life examples such as the All Blacks or, more seriously, his big brother, the teenage bully who grew up to become a fearless Army medic.

All these things provide fodder for what are straightforward observational routines – simple tales, well told. On their own, they are engaging enough diversions, but little more than bar-room chit-chat, enlivened by Christmas’s cheery, energising manner, rather than brilliantly crafted punchlines.

Where the effort lies is in making the show more than the sum of its parts. The tales flow effortlessly, with the hour flying by, and the hour is skilfully put together to ensure the desired upbeat atmosphere gradually fills the room, and everyone disappears into the night much happier than they arrived.

To mark the conclusion of each, rather arbitrary, chapter Christmas runs along the rows, high-fiving us all. It pretty much sums up the show – a comedic high-five with no other purpose or depth than to simply celebrate the joy of existence. And that’s surely an heroic enough aim.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Brighton Comedy Festival, October 2007

Review date: 7 Oct 2007
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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