James Acaster: Prompt, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh


Click to follow
The Independent Culture

After a tumbleweed-inducing debut solo show last year, the 27-year-old Kettering boy has returned to the Fringe and imposed an effective rule of three on his whimsical stylings: judicious repetition, reinforcement and joined-up thinking.

From foxing telesales operatives by faking his own death (“If they can still hear you breathing, they’ll seal the deal”) to the relative merits of different breads, James Acaster gives each of his routines a personality and his callbacks give the set a unity belying the random nature of its constituent parts.

Relatively low-energy routines are given flight by his first set-piece: a re-working of the syllabically challenged song of Kettering Town Football Club. Acaster is lunatic in his pursuit of it, an exercise in repetition that builds to a giddy height and never tips over into inanity.

There’s method to the madness of even the least promising routines: the weather forecasting abilities of British and Danish cows and whether bringing your partner to a nightclub can be likened to “taking an apple to an orchard.”

The latter debunks lad attitude (the antithesis of this charity shop chic jester) in a style reminiscent of Stewart Lee or Richard Herring, but suffused with enough of his own personality to sound crisp and fresh.

Til 26 August, 0131 556 6550