James Acaster – Recognise 4 **** - One4Review
one4review | On 04, Aug 2014
James Acaster – Recognise
It’s a good idea to get to the Pleasance Cabaret Bar pretty sharpish in order to see James Acaster. Mainly because he’s good, but also to ensure that you get a decent seat in order to actually SEE James Acaster – otherwise your experience of him, especially for the first 15 minutes, will be mainly auditory. Look, just don’t sit up the back.
However, even with a somewhat restricted view Acaster was a pleasure to watch. When I could. He performed with confidence and charm, initially interacting with the audience in a way that exposed his quick wit and adept manner of handling small distractions – sneezing, coughing or the opening of a carbonated drink by a member of the front row.
Acaster’s style is drily deadpan, and he takes a look at various everyday incidents which both baffle and annoy him. It doesn’t sound revolutionary, but it’s the attention to detail he gives to each experience that raises his comedic bar. He takes each observation to an extended and absurdist end, revelling in the fact that the denial of a free banana in Prêt a Manger would lead to the establishment of his own banana selling empire whilst also questioning the sociological impact of a person’s placement in a conga-line. A through line of humour in his insistence that he is an undercover cop masquerading as a stand-up comedian is a delightfully silly idea performed with the upmost seriousness. It also serves as a core for Acaster to return to as he weaves his way through the hour.
The structure of his work was one of the things that impressed me most, with jokes folding in and back on themselves and delightfully placed callbacks peppered throughout his set. This is a clever, assured show that you should definitely try to catch.
Reviewed by Diane
Pleasance Cabaret Bar – 20.00