Javier Jarquin looks almost surprised that we’re here to see him. Coming from relative obscurity, he says, he has been observing the many quirks of life around him from his native New Zealand all the way to our blustery shores, and trying to make sense of it all. Jarquin is a warm and accepting comic with exceptional command of the stage, who can take the most mundane of circumstances and bring them to life with ease – but in doing so, he gets perilously close to going over old ground. Men and women, cats and dogs, and cultural differences have been discussed ad nauseum since before the Fringe began, and though this young comedian manages to put a new spin on them all, the subject matter is still the same, and the laughs a little dulled by this familiarity.
Jarquin is a warm and accepting comic with exceptional command of the stage, who can take the most mundane of circumstances and bring them to life with ease
A cheerful opening leads into a set of chapter headings for the rest of his show – some of us may like this section, some of us may not, but we’ll all be brought together again when we get to talking about the trials and tribulations of the walkman-owner and the dishwasher. As it happened, every section got its fair share of giggles, and these markers showed that his set has been carefully crafted. In the absence of a thematic string running through his friendly storytelling, they helped to keep it all together even when a heckle or over-enthusiastic audience member threatened to knock us off track.
Well-planned though it may be, Jarquin doesn’t seem to have decided quite what he wants his show to be. Several times he flirts with controversial topics without seemingly realising it. The claim that being mixed-race gives him permission to be a little bit racist puts much of his audience on edge, and we’re never really given reassurance that it’s okay to laugh. Tonight, he recovered well from the lull this caused, and easily shushed or glossed over any unsolicited audience participation. Though some jokes’ intentions weren’t entirely clear, and others may simply be too crass for some Fringe-goers, the remainder of the hour was wonderfully funny, if a little lacking in originality.