Reviewer: Matt Forrest
It’s been a very good year for James Acaster. Appearances on Have I Got News for You and several slots on Mock the Week have certainly helped boost his profile, while his Represent show has earned him his fourth consecutive Edinburgh Comedy Award nomination for Best Show. It’s this nominated show that Acaster brings to The Lowry.
Acaster strides onto the stage clad all in brown, with a rather fetching paisley tie, looking like he means business, re-arranging the mic stand and his stool, to sort the chi out in the room. Opening with a touch of celebrity gossip, the audience are treated to an update and insight into the lives of the Chilean miners, since there dramatic rescue five years ago, these range from karaoke disputes to eating soup and drinking cups of tea at the same sitting. This perfectly sets the tone for the absurdity and whimsy of the show.
The premise centres on Acaster’s desire to perform jury duty. He reads out a letter begging a judge to allow him to perform his civil duty, and what follows is a tale of one man’s quest to be the best juror on the planet. Stemming from this are a series of set-pieces ranging from the problems of the amateur masseuse to the life of a log-flume promoter, 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 as there are call backs to previous jokes throughout the set. The real triumph is Acaster’s confident and stern delivery, you soon become immersed in his stories and forget how ludicrous they are.
Arguably Acaster is at his best when he is playing around with his own material; a story of a goose and a sloth sees him ad-libbing and manipulating the story which is a stroke of genius, and worth going to see alone. Here you have a comedian full of confidence who seems more than willing to try new material, even if it may be a little ‘off the cuff’. This is a clever and highly original show that should see Acaster performing in arenas in the not too distant future.
Reviewed on 18 October 2015 | Image: Contributed