James Acaster @ Pleasance Courtyard

Review by Craig Angus | 12 Aug 2016
  • James Acaster

There’s a joke at this year’s fringe – set in the distant future – where a man in a spacesuit watches YouTube footage of the Edinburgh Festival, commenting that James Acaster has just been nominated for the main comedy prize for the 17th year in a row. Why not? From humble beginnings of getting on the National Express up to Auld Reekie with no shows booked, he’s grown into one of the most consistent comedians in the country. Reset is Acaster’s best performance to date, and if this does turn out to be his DiCaprio moment, after a series of nearly misses, then it’ll be a wonderful show that earns it.   

It’s a meticulously crafted hour that sees Kettering’s most famous raconteur lead the sell-out crowd through a show about new beginnings, weighing up the permanent state of psychological wanderlust that so many of us live in with the truism that 'nothing feels new forever'. It’s poignant, but framed through a story of working in a Bee factory, so it’s well balanced. His material about British colonialism – and our own clean break – is hysterically good without being preachy. He concludes by rapidly documenting his own 'fresh start', his first forays into comedy, and where it’s taken him – the highs and lows. Reset is inspired.  

James Acaster: Reset, Pleasance Courtyard (One), 3-28 Aug, 7.30pm, £8-14