Thursday 08th December

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James Acaster. Recognise.

| Comedy | 16/12/2014



James Acaster is a stand-up comedian from Kettering. Weetabix, a whole grain wheat breakfast cereal, is also from Kettering. Acaster’s comedy combines the dryness of a bowl of Weetabix, pre-milk-dousing, with the enjoyable flavour of Weetabix, post-milk-dousing. His delivery, which is deliberately downbeat and playfully awkward, is a joyful thing to consume.

He’s got a new show called ‘Recognise’, and it’s back at the Soho Theatre due to phenomenal demand. Get ready for my review, because it’s about to hit you right in the peepers. Put your goggles on because it’s filled with opinions so sharp that…ok, enough with the ambling; let’s just do this thing.

Watching Acaster in action is like watching a champion knitter going to town on multiple jumpers simultaneously. He’s the new king of the callback, with a real knack for leaving jokes tantalisingly incomplete before nonchalantly strolling back to them at a later time. I won’t discuss the moments this happens in the show because, well because, nobody likes “spoiler-alert” guy. Just take my word for it when I say that ‘Recognise’ is chock-a-block with wonderful little surprises.

Acaster picks up the comedy rulebook and rips it in half. He then glues the rulebook back together, before magnificently ripping it up all over again. His set, which is part Meta, part observational and part anecdotal, is filled with intelligently constructed ideas. He creates multiple threads and tangents, calmly hopping between them like a rabbit on a space hopper (when I really think about this analogy, I’m not entirely sure that it works).

This man really is a superb set-builder; calmly sticking multi-coloured LEGO bricks one atop the other. Without wanting to sound too much like a squealing fan boy, the house Acaster constructs is an architectural masterpiece. If you’re not clapping like a Red Bull infused sea lion by show’s end, there’s something wrong with you. In fact, you’re probably dead inside.

Acaster is a highly original performer, one who possesses a unique approach to making people laugh. He’s a clever comedian, make no mistake, but his comedy never feels unobtainable. The show’s narrative, if that’s what you want to call it, treads a perfect line between whimsy and reality. The boundaries between fact and fiction blur in the best kind of way, making ‘Recognise’ an absolute must-see.

This might just be the best comedy show of the year. It’s certainly one of my favourites. Go check it out.

By Jack Clayton (@BilboTalk).

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