UTG @ Melbourne International Comedy Festival: James Acaster (UK)

Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Comic: James Acaster
Show: James Acaster (UK)
Venue: Melbourne Town Hall (Powder Room)

Brtish stand-up James Acaster is a lot of things. A man, a juror, a gangster, a comedian; thankfully it is the latter of these that he has chosen to make his calling, and tonight it was the Melbourne audience that reaped the rewards. A gifted storyteller with a uniquely off-beat delivery, Acaster hit the ground running, winning over the crowd with some solid crowd work, filled with local references, before settling into an hour of finely crafted stand-up that found its loudest laughs in the most unexpected of places.

Based loosely around his recent experiences as a juror, Acaster’s hour covered a diverse array of topics, including unique takes on theology, dating, the bizarre holiday traditions of the Church of England and the politics of suburban gang turf wars. Tall, skinny and somewhat awkward, Acaster may be the world’s least likely gangster and his recollections of his time as a member of the notorious SW6 gang drew the biggest laughs of the evening. Other memorable moments included his hilarious judgement of his fellow jurors (in particular a man named Lucas), his love for Christingles and his naive perspective on the dating concept known as ‘negging.’

While not everything he tried hit as well as he’d hope the first time (a few of his jokes got lost in translation), his ability to improvise in these moments, working around the joke until he found the punchline that would connect with this audience, was impressive to witness.

An instantly likable performer, Acaster’s low-key, whimsical style and unusual perspectives on life make him a delight to spend an hour in the company of. Go see his show if you’re looking for laughs in unexpected places.

‘James Acaster (UK)’ is on now at Melbourne Town Hall (Powder Room). Click here for dates and ticket details.

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