Arj Barker Photo:  Rebecca Teague
Arj Barker
Photo: Rebecca Teague

Joel Ozborn opened for Arj Barker. Together they are about half way through an Australia-wide tour of daunting proportions.

Ozborn is a young comedian with great physicality onstage. Predictably, he centred on the gruelling aspects of touring and addressing the latecomers who arrived during his set. However he mined comedic gold with the audience once he tackled issues with Vodaphone and Virgin. For my taste his extended piece about audience members discussing his act was overlong. His switching from side to side as conversing characters was clever initially, but its verbosity wore some real audience members down. He is, however, one to watch.

Arj Barker opened with a facetious Broadway-style musical number about himself and the show .This was sung to a lush musical backing which sounded exactly like every commercial musical score we’ve ever heard. A total departure from any performance of his I had seen previously. Very clever!

Returning to the stage he launched into an amazing ramble of anecdotes and jokes, cleverly scripted and performed with seemingly casual panache. This manner belies the real Barker though. He has the ability and discipline to keep a succession of jokey stories juggling in the air and then reference them all together with precision.

Starting with his recent laser eye surgery he segued neatly into the smell of eyeballs melting and to his many eclipse experiences; mostly awful and hilarious.

A rant decrying the appalling company practises of iphone and ending with his own infatuated dependency on “this little baby” drew howls of laughter from the age appropriate crowd.

Then he literally pounced on a most marvellous running gag. “Get a deck of cards and … deal with it!” This lead to numerous remakes of popular put-downs being prefaced with possible situations where they could occur. Ridiculously silly and so funny!

Describing his choice of career as a role model for his nephews, Barker set out to prove that a career doesn’t have to involve years of 9 to 5 slavery, ultimately rewarded by worn out retirement. Laced nicely with self-mockery, it was a lovely exercise in seemingly sincere lifestyle advice.

After exploring concepts as varied as job creation, differing drinking attitudes in Australia and the USA, personal sleep problems and energy-saving mens-room inventions he embarked on a long mock-scientific discourse about the sun. Since he had only “skip read” the article it rapidly descended into a classic shaggy dog story with plasmas dropping from above, together with immediate world power outages.

This gave a tidy link to the very heart/name of show the Go Time. Assuming a pop-psychologist air, Barker presented his ‘Go Time’ theory with quasi-religious fervour. I won’t disclose it here for the sake of future audiences, but its alarming moral latitude and the gift of total freedom of speech gave wonderful opportunities for comic consequences.

Of course there was more, so much more. Barker takes his time to set up a joke, but it’s the running gags and clever asides that keep the audience right up there with him. And he is generous with his stage time.

This show is an enormously successful venture, not only in ticket sales, as the queue for the much mentioned post-show merchandise ran out the door and along the street.

Good luck to him. He works hard for the money!

Arj Barker returns to the Regal Theatre for 3 further dates next weekend:

Friday: 15 November 8.00pm

Saturday: 16 November 8.00pm

Sunday: 17 November 7.00pm

NSW Dates


Wed 20 Nov – EVAN Theatre, Panthers, NSW
Sun 24 Nov – Enmore Theatre, NSW
Thu 28 Nov – Orange Civic Theatre, NSW

Tickets Adult $49.90 Concession $44.90 Students $44.90

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *