Comedy review: James Acaster, Recognise

James Acaster. Pic: Comp
James Acaster. Pic: Comp
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WHAT do rules and their loopholes, bananas, Dr Pepper and schmoozing have in common?

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PLEASANCE COURTYARDS

How do they link up with fast food chains, Torvil and Dean or the geometric genius of Pythagoras?

The answers are nothing, and they don’t, not until you pop them in the Magimix that is James Acaster’s fertile mind, for these are some of the subjects he weaves into an hour of comedy so seamlessly crafted that you forget he’s talking trivialities.

Acaster holds the room in the palm of his hand, and what a gentle hand it is, poking fun at life’s absurdities and our way of describing it, rather than picking on social stereotypes or his audience.

Pay attention, nothing is wasted here and his dexterity with call backs might convince you he’s been on stage for decades instead of a few scant years.

He gives flimsy observations substance, eliciting hoots of laughter with a rant about individual versus conjoined oven gloves, and demonstrating his facility for language with pronouncements about the auditory properties of a perfect crisp sandwich. His central conceit is that he’s really an undercover cop posing as a comic, a notion he spins until it has vertigo, leaving the audience ready to provide their fingerprints on the way out.

Another terrific set-piece outlines the four states of Being: sober, tipsy, drunk and hungover; but the highlight of the night was seeing this tall, slim gent ponder the difficulties of leadership via the medium of interpretive dance. Conga, to be precise, and what a lot of flying legs and arms that entails.

There’s a sound reason why Acaster has been nominated two years running for the Fosters Comedy Award, and why he won this year’s Best International Show Award at the New Zealand Comedy Festival – the boy’s good at what he does.

Until 24 August