When you consider the two extremes of stand up – conventional style versus more offbeat – James Acaster’s brand of comedy definitely sits in the latter category. His eccentric perspective is very much the pulse of his material and this show is no exception.
Recognise is the first chapter of the trilogy and is a cleverly written, multi-layer narrative in which Acaster discloses to the audience that he is actually an undercover cop posing as a stand up comedian so he can infiltrate a drug ring. This far-fetched yet somewhat plausible premise is the recurring theme but in between we are treated to an entertaining diatribe of a variety of things from the mundane to the farcical.
Over the course of the hour we learn of Acaster’s love for finding loopholes, the time he concocted a long drawn out revenge scheme involving bananas and what he thinks is New Zealand’s best kept secret and why which was an audible crowd-pleaser. His anecdotes all demonstrate a witty and devious mind which is a staple in his shows.
Acaster is an animated and captivating raconteur, using his signature whimsical and sardonic candor to superb comedic effect. In this particular show, there is also a physicality which he adopts as well as audio and visual props he uses that add yet another humorous layer to his material.
Recognise is another enjoyable top notch offering and one that feels more personal than its successors which is refreshing. Whether or not Acaster really is a covert detective is debatable but what is undeniable is his innate ability to effortlessly garner laughs no matter what he talks about.
James Acaster is performing Recognise, Represent and Reset across different days and times at The Basement until April 23rd with a bonus show on Sunday evening. For more details and to book tickets, click here.
*Check out what I thought of Represent here.
*I saw Reset at last year’s NZICF. To read what I thought, click here.