A humble deck of cards, a ninja (well, a likeable Kiwi), a lofty-heighted venue and audience participation, all added up to an hour well spent at the Gilded Balloon today. The likeable Kiwi/ninja in question, aka Javier Jarquin, entertained a multi-aged crowd, with a high-energy acrobatic display (using several hundred cards), supported with some charming humour and energetic, ninja-like moves.
He’s definitely the most dexterous person I’ve ever seen with a 52 pack.
Jarquin is an on-stage natural, effortlessly convivial, interacting with the spectrum of ages present with ease. He began his set by requesting audience assistance; an allegedly bust sound system meant he required some help with the musical accompaniment for his show. For this performance an audience member, Angus, and his ipod duly stepped up to the mark. Jarquin then used this ‘retro’ piece of tech and the ensuing tunes selected to enhance his comedic style and provide backing music whilst he performed some card trials. These trials were a series of tests undertaken by Jarquin to demonstrate that a playing card could be as equally stealthy and as deadly accurate as a Shuriken (apparently the name for the star-shaped ninja weapon). To prove this Jarquin flicked, twisted and launched his weapon of choice around the stage - sometimes even in to a water melon - and beyond. And most of the time this was highly engaging - Jarquin’s undoubtedly an agile performer, who can make cards do things that your average Joe/Josie Bloggs cannot. Sadly, however, the cards frequently don’t make their target and it’s often a case of hit and miss or is it miss and hit …… the floor, that is? So, if you’re expecting clinical accuracy with every card stunt, you’ll be disappointed, that is not what this show’s about. Jarquin’s set is chaotically engaging, rather than seriously slick although, having said that, the finale is pretty impressive.
Card Ninja is an entertaining hour worth watching; the kids there were enthralled, and the adults pleasantly amused. As a physical performer Jarquin is lithe, nimble and graceful, as a comedian he’s witty and warm with on-point timing, and as a card (whisper this, “ninja” – see the show and you’ll know what I mean), he’s definitely the most dexterous person I’ve ever seen with a 52 pack.