Review | Card Ninja hits you with a surprise attack

Card Ninja | Casa Mondo | til Feb 18th | ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ 

As I entered the small tent it was obvious that this was going to be an intimate performance. My expectations were not high as, despite having won an award at another Festival, the show had registered only one mild quadrant on the Sizzle Factor in the Fringe World program.

It was disappointing that the tent was only half full but at least it gave the audience a chance to spread out. I was quite shocked to see several children in the front row as it was a week night and my experience of Fringe shows was that they pushed the boundaries on raunchiness.

Dressed in black, Javier Jarquin introduced himself as the Card Ninja and warned us that the interactive show only rated PG as it was targeted to 12 year old boys, or those with the mentality of a 12 year old boy. My expectations sunk even lower.

Originally from New Zealand, this guy has had far too much free time on his hands. While showing off his skill with packs and packs of playing cards, he recalls all the Ninja films that have influenced him and the karate lessons that left him with some spectacular looking but useless poses.

About 50% of the small audience were Ninja fans, including all the kids in the front row. The rest of us were about to find about the Ninja Trials and some were to experience them first hand as cards were jettisoned everywhere  to show Ninja skills.

Be warned – if you sit in the first or second rows of the 5 row seating space, there is a high likelihood that you will be targeted to participate in the performance. Even if you are not chosen, cards fly everywhere and by the end of the energetic performance, the tent was covered in cards.

By the time the Card Ninja got to the part where he tries to kill a watermelon using only a pack of cards, I was enthralled by the hilarious connections that had been made of the crossover between an ancient deadly Japanese martial art and tricks that can be done with ordinary playing cards.

Did I go out of the tent having been entertained for an hour? Did I know more about Ninja skills and was there a smile on my face?  Yes to all the above.

Card Ninja runs until Sunday 18 Feb at the Pleasure Garden. For tickets and more info head to

Lezly Herbert

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