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ELEVATES PARLOUR TRICKS TO HIGH ART

Print Version

SCIRT WORLD BUSKERS FESTIVAL
GAMARJOBAT
Ketch! and HIRO-PON
Japan

at The Press CLUB - BUSKER PARK, Christchurch
From 17 Jan 2013 to 22 Jan 2013

Reviewed by Erin Harrington, 18 Jan 2013


The World Buskers Festival is a wealth of riches, and Christchurch is fortunate to once again have such a broad selection of quality international acts tucked away in the central city. Gamarjobat beautifully exemplify the main thrust of the festival – they are an enthusiastic, frenetic and swaggering example of what happens when street performance goes pro.

Gamarjobat are Ketch! and HIRO-PON, a pair of cartoonish Mohawked punks in matching natty suits and Doc Martens. They strut, jump and dance their way through a playbook of physical set pieces, and quickly develop a strong rapport with the audience, whose participation is integral to the performance.

The show is performed with a rapid-fire tactical precision that only comes from years of professional dedication. What is perhaps most endearing is that the show largely consists of what might be termed ‘Dad jokes' – the sorts of goofy acts of slight-of-hand, mime and physical gags that children have been groaning their way through for decades. However, the performance is so precisely choreographed and physically deft that it elevates mere parlour tricks into high art.

Gamarjobat is advertised as silent comedy, but this is somewhat misleading. The performers are incredibly noisy, communicating verbally with each other, but sans words. They encourage and berate the audience in equal measures, expressing themselves in grunts, hoots, shouts and ululations that can only be described as “comedy Japanese”. Such comic communication removes all cultural and linguistic boundaries, and it is easy to see why the show has had such global success.

The show is fast-paced, endearing and so engaging that the time flies past. It is a real pleasure to watch people enjoy themselves so thoroughly – and that was just the performers.

It is recommended that audience members try to find a seat at quickly as possible, as the best seats are certainly those nearer to the front.
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