FRINGE 2015 – Arj Barker – Get in My Head – Arts Theatre – 4K

arts_arts1By Peter Maddern

Having worked out the Fringe going annual wasn’t right for him and his audience, Californian Arj Barker now graces the planks of the Arts Theatre only in the odd numbered years. By his count he has been in the comedy caper for around 25 years and certainly he has been a staple here for this century at least. Yet, time does not seem to have affected him; he wears the same fading black t-shirt, there are only scant signs of a middle aged paunch, he still lives with his girlfriend and he says he still rents.

In this his Get in My Head Show, some recognition of his life’s journey did show itself with his shared unhappiness with small children of flying and the need to lie about his age whenever he is asked. But like most of Arj’s material, he is drawing on an educated, middle class world of motherhood statements and gestures that his perceptive eye focuses quickly on and razor wit dissects.

From self-absorbed children to the relative merits of Al Qaeda, from ageing face masks to preparing for sterility, being ‘comfortable’ to the merits of hanging out at dog beaches, Arj delivers sixty very full minutes of laughs. With his history here Arj also relishes shining a local mirror into our eyes; in this show the SAMRI building, MAC TV ads and the current fad of burger shops take his fancy.

Sure we all have our favourites, but Arj for mine is consistently the best comedian to come through town as part of the Fringe circus – he’s funny, he knows his audience and he always stays well clear of the crassness and crudity that others always seem to find the need to descend to.

Good having you back Arj Barker.

Kryztoff Rating     4K

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