James Acaster: Represent

‘I know why you’re here’, James Acaster begins, ‘for the celebrity gossip’. If you are at this show for the celebrity gossip, you will be bitterly disappointed. If you’re there for James Acaster however, for constant quips, absurd tangents and quite a lot of useless trivia about the Chilean miners, you will be ecstatic.

I salute you if you manage to get through it without crying.

Despite his scruffy schoolboy demeanour, Acaster’s Represent is a real stand-up masterclass. That phrase is often batted around clumsily, but this showis meticulously crafted and perfectly delivered. Jokes and stories flow and interrelate with ease as he references backwards while still forging onwards with material that just gets funnier and funnier.

The predominant theme is a character analysis of Acaster’s fellow jury duty companions. Specifically Lucas, an abominable human, whom you will love to hate immediately. A stand-out moment is when Acaster narrates a fable he wishes to impart upon Lucas – the well-known fable of the goose and the sloth. The full extent of the comedian’s hilariously erratic brain comes to the fore and I salute you if you manage to get through it without crying.

Avoiding crudity and vulgarity, another crowd favourite was the comic’s depiction of massage. With a depth of description that matches the excellency of his hand gestures, he performs an observational act that leaves everyone laughing.

It’s not just observational comedy where he excels. It all gets quite existential: his superb comic timing also tackles Christianity and feng shui. Confidence in his own material is clear as he pauses for slightly too long when pondering the creation myth. The pace is soon back though, once he throws his hilarious onstage tantrum.

With a number of audience members running off to empty their bladders, Acaster constantly had ammunition to fuel his quick-witted fire and his on-the-spot takedowns were consistently applauded.

Rapturous applause really is well deserved – Acaster’s enjoying enormous success, with constant television appearances and a sold-out run. If you’ve nabbed tickets, lucky you. One line of advice: don’t go to the toilet.  

Reviews by Sarah Gough

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

'Love is the absence of judgement' (Dalai Lama XIV). Running his mouth off about a bunch of stuff nobody even cares about – it's James Acaster. Nifty. Snazzy. 30 years old. Doing his best to improve his posture. Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award Best Show nominee 2014, 2013 and 2012. Seen on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Mock the Week, 8 Out of 10 Cats and Russell Howard's Good News. Heard on James Acaster's Findings (Radio 4) and The Josh Widdicombe Show (XFM). 'One of comedy's most original voices' (Evening Standard). 'Stand-up of the highest most playful order' (Guardian).