James Acaster (4 stars)

This article is from 2013

James Acaster

A unique comedy voice worth shouting about

James Acaster is swiftly becoming one of the Fringe’s safe bets, which is quite a feat given the potentially ‘difficult’ style he has chosen to adopt. Not for this Kettering-born comic the jogging from side to side or the shouty approach or the overly warm welcome to one and all. His is a stand-offish and often awkward metier heightened by looking like a young man in middle-aged clothing: he blames his head-to-toe M&S look on that retailer’s uncanny ability to provide a consumer such as him with irresistible sweeties.

In his third full show (he should be in the running already for a second successive spot on the Foster’s shortlist), Acaster admits from the off that he has just one mission: to resurrect the reputation of Yoko Ono. Fair enough, this could yield a joke or two, you think. What you will not be able to conjure is the many minutes of low-level hysteria he gets out of quoting from and then re-imagining the conversations that three-quarters of the Beatles had as they plotted to get rid of John Lennon’s partner.

But he has an even wilder scheme afoot, as he wants to show the world that Ono is not someone capable of ruining a band. As if that wasn’t enough, this set piece ties in another recurring thread (the band who went down with the Titanic) while another highlight is his unlikely analysis of why America is quite simply far better than Britain
Acaster’s countrified burr and ability to slow it all right down with each quasi-absurdist routine, might sound to some ears as though he is another of those young comics far too influenced by Stewart Lee. But Acaster is doing something wholly different and has quickly found his own comedy voice. It’s one that we should all be shouting about from the rooftops.

Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 25 Aug, 7pm, £9–£12 (£8–£10.50).