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James Acaster and Stephanie Laing – The Lowry, Salford

Reviewer: Matt Forrest

We are all in need of a fun night out and a bloody big giggle, so what better way than to go see not 1 but 2 stand up comics on a sunny bank holiday. However, sometimes they need us as much as we need them. This was a preview for both James Acaster and Stephanie Laing, in preparation for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. A chance to try out new material, and dip their toes into the comedy waters.

Up first is Stephanie Laing. Laing was previewing material from her show Nincompoop. Coming onto the stage with a cheery smile, she instantly tries to build up a good rapport with the audience, especially those good souls who brave the front. What follows is 40 minutes of silliness and musings about sick on your clothes, the moral dilemma of having a threesome, a wide array of duck drawings and of course a song about a newt. Laing has the makings of a very good show, it just needs a little fine tuning and she’ll be on to a winner. Some of the routine really hit the mark, while other elements need more polish. Laing has an awkward yet likeable persona which really enhances her material. By the time this show hits Edinburgh it could be worth a watch.

Up next is James Acaster. Following his sell out show Recognise at least year’s Edinburgh Festival, Acaster is back at the Lowry with his new show. He opens with a touch of celebrity gossip, enlightening the audience on what some of the Chilean miners have been up to since coming out the mine, thus setting the tone for an hour of absurd set pieces, enhanced by Acaster’s dry delivery.

The premise of the show is that Acaster is on jury duty, however, he is no ordinary juror. He is a maverick, ready to crack the case single-handedly. A wide range of anecdotes ranging from gang warfare to the Christingle, are woven into what at first appears to be a sporadic script, but in actuality is a well crafted, polished piece of work. You have to be on your toes throughout as he regularly calls backs to previous jokes throughout the set. The real triumphant is Acaster’s confident and stern delivery, you become immersed in his stories and forget how ludicrous they are.

Admitting that finish of the show needs a little work, Acaster neatly wraps up his performance rather like a bow on an orange (you’ll understand when you go see the show). This is a clever and highly original show which will go down a storm when Acaster takes it to Edinburgh.

Both James Acaster and Stephanie Laing are currently on tour

Reviewed on 24th May 2015

Reviewer: Matt Forrest We are all in need of a fun night out and a bloody big giggle, so what better way than to go see not 1 but 2 stand up comics on a sunny bank holiday. However, sometimes they need us as much as we need them. This was a preview for both James Acaster and Stephanie Laing, in preparation for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. A chance to try out new material, and dip their toes into the comedy waters. Up first is Stephanie Laing. Laing was previewing material from her show Nincompoop. Coming onto the stage with…

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The North West team is under the editorship of John Roberts. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.