Darby James: Little Squirt {Melbourne International Comedy Festival} – Theatre Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Darby James’ Little Squirt is the most beautiful and moving piece of theatre. Directed by Casey Gould, this one-man powerhouse production tells the tale, via nautical themes, of Darby choosing to donate his sperm during the Melbourne lockdown era.

Upon entering the Malthouse Theatre – Bagging Room, we find Darby dressed in a striped sailor inspired outfit complete with a sailor hat, sitting alone on a wooden box. The box itself placed on a circular hand-woven rug made to look like the wooden floor of a ship. Next to Darby, also on the wooden rug was a treasure chest, a message in a bottle, and a ship’s helm covered with rope netting. The visuals were minimal but more than enough to set the scene.

As soon as every patron was seated and the lighting changed, Darby stood up and immediately commanded the room with his presence. Darby James is an excellent storyteller. While this was my first time witnessing Darby in his element, I was enthralled by his passionate delivery on his self-chosen adventure to donate sperm.

The nautical themes are appropriate as the ocean can be unpredictable (among other things), as was Darby’s journey. While Darby does get up from his box and masterfully captivates his audience throughout the show, I found that he never actually leaves his ‘boat’, always keeping within the confines of the circular rug.

As this is a cabaret show, Little Squirt (previously known as Spunk Daddy) is filled with lyrically eloquent songs and raw content that many would otherwise shy away from. The most memorable of Darby’s songs would be ‘Vulnerable’, a pivotal tune that flows and excels the narrative with ease. Darby James’ vocals are also wonderful and the audience lapped up every moment that Darby would break into song, or kindly interact with us to wave our phone lights in the air, just like at a concert. Despite being in a room filled with people, whenever Darby made eye contact, he made you feel like he was telling this bitter-sweet personal story just to you.

Now, you may think that donating sperm is something so simple but the process that Darby describes is so thorough, interesting and detailed, it’s hard not be fascinated by Darby’s story while learning something new. I never knew that donating sperm would be such a lengthy process. I was also never aware of the emotional toll this journey would take on an individual and felt extremely empathetic while Darby got lost in his various thoughts, contemplating the responsibility and impact of his decision.

It’s not just an ejaculation. It never was. This heartfelt tale and real life-experience from Darby James has turned into the most wonderful piece of theatre that is a must-see for many. This unpredictable journey was entertaining from start to finish and I found myself on an emotional rollercoaster where I laughed, was surprised, shocked, curious, and was even moved to tears.

Little Squirt is an intimate and heartfelt cabaret masterpiece that takes a deep and hard look at life itself. It is also a beautiful open love letter to those who have done same selfless act as Darby, those on the receiving end who need assistance to fulfil their dreams of parenthood, those born into existence thanks to an anonymous human’s donation, but especially to the lives born from Darby James’ own generosity that he may never get to meet.

Unfortunately, I attended the final show of Darby JamesLittle Squirt at the 2024 Melbourne International Comedy Festival. However, Little Squirt will play at the 2024 Adelaide Cabaret Festival at Quarter Bar on the 14th and 15th of June.
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Photography supplied.

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