James Acaster’s “Prompt” Review.
A large applause from a small audience greets a beaming James Acaster as he walks out onto the the Chapter Arts Centre stage and leans on the microphone stand a with nonchalant boyish smile and grins as he says thank you to the audience in a shy and quiet way, which gets his first laugh of the night and begins his Edinburgh festival performance of “Prompt”
In one of the most unconventional starts to a comedy show, Acaster is heckled by a member of the front row who is clearly in a large wheelchair and disabled, asking him why he had taken so long to come on stage after the interval. Without a second thought he came back and said “You and I both know that you can say anything you like and I can do nothing about it so you may as well get it all out now!” to which the audience laughed and the heckler implored him to start the show.
After a relatively low energy start, talking about how you can fake your own death to a telemarketer, yet if they still hear you breathing they will attempt to close the sale, Acaster then bursts into life singing and dancing on stage to his own rendition of a Kettering Town FC chant. Teasing the audience into thinking he has finished the song, he starts a new verse and makes sure the tune is permanently stuck in our heads.
Acaster doesn’t rely on swearing or smut to get laughs from his audience, his observations and audience banter are definitely his strong point as he seems to find the funny side to any comment or answer given to him. He thrives on his ability to respond to almost anything the audience throw at him and after he mocked a man who couldn’t think of a food that is covered in breadcrumbs the audience sit in fear of being picked on. His abstract stories of Danish cows and the weather are unconventional yet still bring in laughs from a very diverse group of people in the Chapter Centre.
His delivery ranges from the mainly deadpan to the occasionally frenzied, as he gives the audience information on his ‘research’ into bread and then jumps onto another story of how he stole a duck from a pub and subsequently links the two together.
There is a touch of surrealism when he talks about going on a night out with the lads is an extended metaphor for taking an apple to an orchard. His performance is precision perfect, his writing fabulous and he is in possession of a highly original, unique and eccentric mind that will no doubt propel him into stardom in the very near future.