Jak Darling: A Muse

Cavern Club, 22 Allen St, Te Aro, Wellington

21/05/2024 - 25/05/2024

NZ International Comedy Festival 2024

Production Details

Creator/Writer/Performer/Producer – Jak Darling
Director – Alia Marshall

Debuting this NZ Comedy Fest is Aotearoa’s self-appointed Darling, Jak Darling with an hour of wit, charm, and delight, as they traverse all things a-muse-ing in search of their ever elusive muse. Darling shares the magic and mundaneness of their world through theatre, stand-up, poetry, and musical comedy. A Muse is unapologetically queer, a love letter to Darling’s younger self, and joyful celebration for anyone who doesn’t always fit into the checkboxes of a heteronormative society.

The Cavern Club
Dates: 21st – 25th of May 2024
Time: 8:30pm – 9:30pm
Prices: $20 – $25
Link to Show: https://www.comedyfestival.co.nz/find-a-show/a-muse/
Ticket Link: https://www.iticket.co.nz/events/2024/may/cf-jak-darling

Comedy , Theatre , Solo ,

1 Hour

Linguistic tricks, quips, puns and witty anecdotes: life-affirming and ever hopeful

Review by Margaret Austin 22nd May 2024

Jak Darling fans are crowding the steps down to the Cavern Club, happily expectant. Darling’s late to the microphone – mislaid an earring perhaps? They sashay in eventually, wearing a sumptuous full length ballgown, and we are greeted with a double entendre that sets both the tone and the theme of the evening. 

Darling is looking for a muse – someone to inspire their comedy. Perhaps they’ll get it here tonight? “It’ll find you” is a mantra they can’t quite believe. But can the set of drawers onstage provide some help? A dive to the floor and a quick riffling follows.

By the way, in case we’re interested, they’re not looking for a relationship – and we get to hear the most unlikely places to find one in anyway. Jokes about pronouns are predictable, and our reaction has Darling accusing us of being low hanging fruit. Less predictable are throwaway lines about straight family members.

A costume change reveals a sheath clad Darling, and now a typical Christchurch party gets a right going over – with Darling risking that no one from that town is amongst the audience.

We get lots of linguistic tricks and I always welcome them. They’re the saving grace of comedy, that can otherwise descend into the vulgar or the banal. We get what I think is the high point of the evening in a simulated bus ride, with quips and puns galore from a quivering, seated Darling. It’s their lengthiest and wittiest anecdote.   

The risqué takes over now, and our awareness of the gay world is being tested. The laughs elicited demonstrate not only awareness but acceptance of a world in which we don’t necessarily share. This may be encouragement to approach the one serious theme of the evening – and one that consequently seems out of place. Another costume change and a unique take on climate change bring us back to the comedic world.

Has Darling found his muse of the show’s title? We’ve almost forgotten the quest of the evening. We don’t really mind – we’re being entertained on the journey. But does Darling? A philosophical observation sums up an attitude to self and life that’s both affirming and – well – ever hopeful.


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