Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director; produced playwright (21 plays). Scripts pub. Currency Press. She worked as actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate was Head of Drama/Teacher, NMIT; Coordinator of Prof. Writing/ Editing, Swinburne Uni. Read her reviews here or: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Sunday, 9 April 2017
James Acaster in The Trelogy, April 8, 2017 ****
Melbourne International Comedy Festival International act (UK) Lower Town Hall, Melbourne Town Hall, until April 16, 2017 Stars: **** Reviewer: Kate Herbert
Review also published in Herald Sun Arts online on April 9, 2017. KH
With his auburn hair and fair complexion, UK comedian James
Acaster could be a lost Weasley brother and his eccentric and brain-bending
comedy would certainly meet that wizard family’s standards.
Acaster’s absurd storytelling, nerdy style and quirky delivery
are unlike any other comic and this is a welcome relief in a festival riddled
with cookie-cutter stand-ups.
He is thin as a reed with a twitchy, birdlike manner
and a peculiar, tilting physicality that sees him leading from the knees – or sometimes
from the pelvis – so that he appears to be about to topple backwards.
With his weird magic, he weaves several stories
together, starting with a philosophical voice over in the dark about the start
of the universe, then surprises the crowd with his version of ‘celebrity
gossip’ that involves those almost-forgotten Chilean miners.
He meanders skillfully into rambling tales of his jury
duty, playing Devil’s Advocate, discussing the verdict and assessing the level
of likeability of the members of said jury.
Acaster recollects his childhood as ‘a little
Christian boy’, talks about the perils of Secret Santa and reveals the
inexplicably oddball, UK Christmas ritual known as ‘Kris Tingle’ that involves
an orange, a candle and – well – you’ve gotta see it to believe it!
His fractured fable, The Goose and the Sloth, is a
hilariously bizarre conflation of morality tales and his horror story about the
dentist’s waiting room is like no other.
Acaster is a master of reincorporation and he teases
and tests the audience as he reintroduces references from earlier in the show,
checking if they remember them and expertly using silence to titillate his
audience as they wait for his segue into the next mad story.
The Trelogy is actually three, different Acaster shows
– Recognise, Represent and Reset – that Acaster performs in turn over his
season so you could see him three times and witness a totally new show each
time. And he uses no expletives at all!
James Acaster is unique and you’ll sit open-mouthed
watching this totally bonkers comedian.
(2014) on 4, 7, 11,
14 Apr (not previously seen in Melbourne)