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.
Recognise (2014) on 4, 7, 11, 14 Apr (not previously seen in Melbourne)

Represent (2015) on 5, 8, 12, 15 Apr

Reset (2016) on 6, 9, 13, 16 Apr
By Kate Herbert

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