BATS Theatre, Wellington

23/05/2007 - 26/05/2007

NZ International Comedy Festival 2007-09, 2013

Production Details

Daniel Bain and Javier Jarquin

Following the success of their 2004 season of the full length improvised play Pulp William, Christchurch based professional improvisers Daniel Bain and Javier Jarquin explode onto the Wellington scene with SHARP – the ultimate comedy variety show.

SHARP is an action packed, fast paced 60 minutes of fresh new comedy. “We only have an hour so there’s not really time to pause for breath” Says Javier.  Audiences can expect to be pulled every which way as the pair deliver a smart, slick and unique showcase of comedy.

“We will mutilate and misuse every single performance discipline we have at our disposal.” Adds Bain. And there are certainly a few to choose from.

Both performers are veterans of New Zealand’s longest running late night comedy show Scared Scriptless at the Christchurch Court Theatre and critically acclaimed by individuals as diverse as Helen Clark and Nancy Cartwright. Daniel has  also worked as an internationally touring street performer for the last five years, taking his skilful blend of circus skills, comedy and stream of consciousness ranting to such prestigious events as the Halifax Buskers Festival, The Edmonton Fringe Festival and the Singapore River Buskers Festival.

Javier has appeared in many improvised and partially improvised shows such as Fairyable and The Early, Early Late Show. Aside from his talents in improvised theatre Javier is also equally at home behind a microphone with his stand-up routines and has hosted and been a headline act of many stand-up comedy shows with his “brutally honest” performance style.

The ideas for SHARP were derived from the pair’s improvisational backgrounds but it’s not an improv show, “We couldn’t possibly limit it to just that.” As such they will also exploit stand up, robotics,  Shakespeare, xylophones and a lonely baby on a string.

SHARP combines the quick wit and immediacy of improvised theatre, the visual spectacle of street and circus, the smart mouth attitude of stand up and the joy of Room Eleven’s Christmas play for the parents.


“Pulp was a heavy piece of work, Shakespeare and Tarantino are big subjects. For our next work we wanted something a little lighter, something with more of a sense of fun.” Says Daniel, “Sharp is going to be fun for us and fun for our audiences. Not to say it won’t be challenging. There’s nothing harder than trying to get improvisers to stick to a script.”


Dates:  Wed 23 – Sat 26 May 8pm
Venue:  BATS Theatre, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington City
Tickets:  Adults $15 Conc.$12 Groups 10+ $12
Bookings:  BATS 04 802 4175
Show Duration:  1 hour

Theatre , Comedy ,

1 hr

Many memorable moments

Review by John Smythe 24th May 2007

Comedy and Fringe Festivals are not complete without something fresh and different from Christchurch. This time just one show fills that bill: a world premiere from Noosed Octopus called Sharp, created and performed by Dan Bain and Javier Jarquin, with Ralph McCubbin-Howel on light and sound.

To say their relaxed and amiable presentation belies a thoroughly thought-through and well-prepared programme of eleven items is not to say improvements are not possible. They are. But as they point out, the good news is that each part of the "cabaret of comedy" or "cornucopia of comedic delights", will be over in 5 minutes. And that should be the bad news too.

Their arty-farty opening is classic and as they go on to blend their skills as a circus school trained performer (Bain) and improv-oriented actor (Jarquin), they deliver whole heartedly on their two avowed goals: no gratuitous swearing; no sex jokes.

The story of Troy is played out with super hero figurines, peaking when over-indulged rich brat Helen bleats, "Wanna poneeee" … An age-old card trick gets a new twist that turns apparent failure into gasp-inducing success. The ‘Card Ninja’ act is good fun too.

Bain’s solo ‘about himself’ set segues nicely in stories of extraordinary sadness, which are always excellent material for a comedy show. A light sabre battle gives Jarquin the stage to himself for a bit until a twist on Peter Pan magic re-unites the duo.

And so to ‘The Lamentable Tragedy of Embryo-yo’, employing more of their trade-mark object manipulation and including a serious lapse in taste which justifiably upsets Bain – and happily stops the show being too pristine for its own good. As with Troy, this routine will improve when the actual physical manipulation aspect becomes second nature and the drama of the stories comes more to the fore.

The penultimate item is an improvised song that loses impact because it seems to be the flavour of the festival so some of us have seen it umpteen times already. And the finale, a futuristic Romeo and Juliet played out by space-age robots with excellent electronica voices and great physical skill, outstays its welcome because it lacks dramatic structure.

Many memorable moments, though, and well worth a visit.


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