James Adomian: Lacking in Character
- Brian Donaldson
- 22 August 2017
A mildly alienating and niche set lays waste to some vibrant ideas
With a judicious application of editing, American act James Adomian clearly has a killer show in his armoury, but his material for Lacking in Character is wildly unfocused. Swatting away any notion of a theme immediately, Adomian puts today's political nightmare into context by cranking up a misty nostalgia for the time when George W Bush was president. This would be ideal as a throwaway line, but he insists on reminding us at too much length of how stoopid Bush seemed during his tenure.
Far more successful is a richly original take on Trump, dreaming up a scenario where the fattest US leader since William Howard Taft (he lumbered around the White House in the early 20th century) finds himself in a sticky situation. And Adomian is more than capable of concocting a delicious slice of imagery, such as describing himself as having 'the carbon footprint of a geisha'.
But he swings around too much hack material not done with a fresh flourish (stoners have short-term memory loss, English actors make excellent Hollywood baddies) and occasionally alienates the majority of his crowd. It's one thing to make heavy reference to Fringey US comics such as Andy Kindler and Kyle Kinane; it's quite another to declare himself delighted with the three people in the room who have heard of them. Lacking in Character isn't short of ideas, but making them more coherent would have resulted in love rather than admiration coming his way.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, until 27 Aug, 9.15pm, £10.50–£12.50 (£9.50–£11.50).