Arj Barker


Mary Tobin Presents.  Arts Theatre, Feb 17 to Mar 12


With an hour of old style, no-frills stand-up strapped to his funny bone, Arj Barker announces himself with some fairly competent harmonica playing and oddball musical comedy.


As always, he puts on a night of good laughs with his signature deadpan wit.  Often hilarious, his shows still have plenty of laughs in them but the style is starting to feel out-of-date.  The problem with Arj Barker is that he's a bit like pulling on an old jumper.  Much loved and well worn, you keep going back because it's comfortable and enjoyable but the holes are starting to show.


A regular fixture year on year, he always draws a loyal and appreciative crowd but one imagines he would struggle to win over any new fans with this material.  There are no laugh-so-hard-your-stomach-hurts moments, and you don't leave with a feeling like you needed any more.  Barker just needs a few more tricks up his sleeve, he's a great comedian but he suffers the same affliction as a friendship-with-benefits that's run its course - it was fun the first few times but the excitement's worn off.


Nicole Russo