James Acaster: Recognise (3 stars)

This article is from 2014

James Acaster: Recognise

2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe show fails to live up to majesty of previous form

Last Fringe, a chance encounter with James Acaster’s father led him to berating me for only awarding his little boy four stars. Let’s hope our paths don’t cross again this August once papa Acaster gets wind of this three-star slating. The fact remains that this hour doesn’t quite match the majesty of his solo shows to date, two of which have earned him a place on the Edinburgh Comedy Award shortlist.

There’s nothing here to hold a candle against 2011’s moment where he used an audience member to recreate a skydiving incident, or the 2013 scene-stealer in which he devilishly attempted to reclaim the tarnished reputation of Yoko Ono. Not that there aren’t surrealist pleasures to be had as he takes an analysis of the number ‘umpteenth’ to the nth degree, and his spat with a sandwich shop assistant over their notion of what constitutes a free banana veers off into unforeseen and hilarious territory.

But there are just too many daft longeurs which was never a problem before, but when they are met at the other end with an unsatisfying conclusion, the journey feels like a wasted one. The lengthy recording of a wire-tap meeting with some crooks is interminable and his central conceit that he might actually be an undercover cop faking it as a stand-up comedian yields very little value.

Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 24 Aug, 8pm, £9--£12 (£8--£10.50).

James Acaster: Cold Lasagne Hate Myself 1999

New show from the comedian who named it after a time he tried cold lasagne and enjoyed it.