Grace Jarvis – This Is The Last Goldfish That I Am Going To Eat For You
BATS Theatre, Studio, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington
16/05/2023 - 20/05/2023
NZ International Comedy Festival 2023
Directed by Laura Davis
I have collected, for you, my audience, an anthology of all the weird things I have done in my life to try and make friends. Do not attempt these methods for yourselves.
Directed by Laura Davis (Most Outstanding Show nominee 2022, Melbourne International Comedy Festival).
Praise for Grace Jarvis’ debut show, Digging a Hole:
“Grace Jarvis’s quirkily funny festival debut is an appealing calling card, clearly setting out who she is by sharing all her idiosyncrasies with a warm, self-deprecating wit” – Chortle, UK
Price: $18 – $22
Comedian – Grace Jarvis
Comedy , Theatre , Stand-up comedy , Solo ,
Fascinating reflections on life, politics, childhood obsessions; the dysfunction and stickiness that comes with being a person
Review by Cordy Black 18th May 2023
Straight from the bustling metropolis of Toowoomba, Grace Jarvis brings her unabashed non sequiturs and awkward teen anecdotes to BATS Theatre’s cosy Studio space for a run of intimate late-night shows. Jarvis quips that her usual audiences tend to have backgrounds or experiences that overlap her own history. That seems fitting, because Jarvis is running a conversation here, rather than a chain of gags or an easy sequence of observational ‘bits’.
Warming to a boutique-sized audience is a challenge at the best of times, yet despite the depth and focus Jarvis needs to harness for the hour, she gets us cackling away and bouncing off her surreal, dorky vibe in a way that is both comfortable and a bit vulnerable for us as observers.
Jarvis jokes that her humour’s been mistaken online for a TED talk-like think piece. There’s something right about that association. She is going deeper than the usual fare we’d expect to find at a late-night comedy show. Notwithstanding the giggles Jarvis raises from her little audience, she is unafraid to steer the conversation straight into deadly serious territory. This hour is an exploration of life’s cruelty and inconsistency, clumsy intentions and social gaffes, reactions to crisis, as well as the deep surrealism in white Australasia’s conservative culture.
Jarvis advises as much as she amuses, pulling us up against an uncomfortable topic and holding us there for a moment before careening off towards some bizarre callback or a throwaway hit of nostalgic cringe. There is sex and violence in the mix, but it’s never thrust at us in an edgy or exploitative way. We sit with the tasteless, fleshy oddity of the human experience, accept it and have a good laugh about it together.
It is fascinating and feels primally satisfying to hear Jarvis stack up the topics of veterans’ rights, queer identity, interesting brain chemicals and bizarre school assignments all together in free-association style, only to fold old thoughts back into the mix in a kind of lopsided origami. There’s a real sense of order in the chaos, but the order keeps peeking out at unusual moments or unexpected angles.
Anyone who has chafed against a confining adolescent experience or a clumsy social rule can feel a sense of easy permission in the space that Jarvis creates. For a show that repeatedly points out the impossibility of performatively ‘being yourself’, Jarvis’s little world feels very homely and accepting of the dysfunction and stickiness that comes with being a person.
If you enjoy a reflective rather than presentational style to your comedy, if you are a bit of a misfit and if you enjoy meandering home at 10.30 in the evening thinking about life and politics and odd childhood obsessions, then this is the show for you.
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