'Jackson Voorhaar Can't Play Guitar' - Jackson Voorhaar - Edinburgh Fringe Review

Jackson Voorhaar Can't Play Guitar, The Laughing Horse@The Counting House, 4-28 August, 2.15pm, Free.

A long overdue sunny day in Edinburgh always takes me to the fantastic Pear Tree beer garden on West Nicolson Street, so it was back to its next door neighbour, 'The Counting House', for another go at a free comedy festival show. I had a Kiwi friend in tow, so what better way to introduce her to Edinburgh than an England-based Australian act? Well...lots of better ways, I'm sure she was thinking. Luckily my culturally indifferent gamble paid off.

Voorhaar lingers pre-show in the bar for a little self-promotion, which he does without arrogance in an appealingly awkward manner. Despite the fact he must hear "I thought you were Australian?!" twenty times a day in response to his recently acquired London accent, Voorhaar hasn't yet adopted the impatience towards irritating questions that seems so common in off-stage comedians. Happily justifying himself to yet another group of people that don't know him, this new fringe act nicely manages to drum up enough interest to almost fill the small, dark room allocated to him, an achievement that is particularly impressive at 2.15 in the afternoon on one of Edinburgh's approximate four days of annual sunshine.

Voorhaar manages to get his audience onside instantly and launches straight into his well-structured routine. 'Slick' would not be a word that would instantly jump to mind when watching him extend his elongated skinny-jeaned frame around the stage and swing his lion mane head of hair back and forth whilst donning a 'Guitar Hero' prop, but this act is definitely well-oiled and coherent. 

Voorhaar deals well with Unforeseen Circumstances, the dreaded arch-nemesis of so many new acts at this festival. These affirmations of quick-wittedness, mixed with an always popular touch of self-deprecation, sent his likeability stock soaring with the audience. Throw in a simplistic and fresh take on popular culture and controversial issues, and the course was clear for the comedian to steer his crowd safely through the shark-infested waters of sex, drugs, rock & roll and Satanism. These are all perilous routes which may have quite easily left a lesser talent floundering and drowning.

Voorhaar runs with the room and tests out his boundaries, vowing to stop at anything that results in "an immediate scab". Although there were a few quieter periods towards the end, this doesn't turn out to be much of a problem and the highlights definitely outshine the low. Someone who can get away with referring to Italians as "a little bit rapey" without receiving a single sharp intake of breath, despite the sobriety of a mid-afternoon international demographic, is definitely one to watch.

Both Voorhaar and his show are witty and likeably offensive. Confidently and warmly delivered without a hint of arrogance, 'Jackson Voorhaar Can't Play Guitar' is definitely worth a break from working on that disheartening milky sunburn.


  1. Ive been thinking about seeing this guy whilst i'm in at the festical on Sunday and after reading this review its definately top of my list.

  2. I remember this guy from Melbourne and his early days in London. Definitely recommend him. "delightfully offensive" and "without a hint of arrogance" sum his act up wonderfully. As far as I'm concerned, and to utilise cliche, a definite 'emerging talent'. See him.