James Acaster: Recognise

Acaster strides onto the stage with purpose; his floppy fringe and corduroy jacket giving him the mild air of an English schoolboy. He carries a hint of the curmudgeon about him; unperturbed about the audience’s regard. Acaster builds tension that the audience attempts to relieve through laughter.

A highly original and satisfyingly strange exploration of perception. Highly recommended as part of your Fringe experience!

The gravity with which Acaster approaches the most farcical of topics confuses and delights the audience. Acaster’s furrowed brow, hunched shoulders, and stern delivery insists we engage seriously with what he has to say; much of which is ridiculous.

It is unpredictable as to where Acaster’s narrative will lead. One minute he is relaying a highly complex plan of revenge against a Prêt à Manger employee in the name of free bananas. The next he provides instructions on how to build cred when you’re in a drug gang. Acaster; an expert in loopholes, recounts some of the most famous loopholes of history. Are conga lines really as much fun as they look? And what is the appropriate etiquette for oven gloves? This is the sort of show that in telling you the themes covered; nothing is really conveyed about how silly it all is.

Layers of complexity build as Acaster confides his true identity as undercover cop Pat SpringLeaf. As he oscillates between his identity as James Acaster the comedian and Pat the cop we catch ourselves experiencing moments of about whether we’ve really got a handle on what is going on, and who is who. This is exquisitely understated character comedy, hidden in the guise of stand up, and it is unclear as to just which character is the real one. I am reluctant to jump on board when Acaster suggests the situation might be allegory for some deeper truths about his life.

This show is a celebration of subtle and insidious ludicrousness. A highly original and satisfyingly strange exploration of perception. Highly recommended as part of your Fringe experience!  

Reviews by Alanta Colley

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award Best Show Nominee 2012 and 2013. James Acaster has something he's been meaning to tell you. He's been putting it off for some time. You might want to sit down. Expect whimsical rabbiting on and awkward physicality throughout. Seen on Never Mind the Buzzcocks and 8 Out of 10 Cats. Heard on James Acaster's Findings (Radio 4) and The Josh Widdicombe Show (XFM). ‘Beautifully constructed “art of stand-up” stuff’ (Sunday Times). ‘Curious, original and immensely enjoyable’ (Telegraph). ‘One of the sharpest comic minds to have emerged in recent years’ (Guardian).