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Edinburgh Fringe 2016 Review: Rhys James: Forgives

'An Ed Byrne dorky self-awareness complementing a Jimmy Carr sardony.' Chris Owen reviews

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Credit: Rhys James


Up-and-comer and occasional Mock The Weeker Rhys James is, like many of his comedian contemporaries, pressingly concerned with age. The spark of James' material on the topic is his spot-on cross-generational observations, be it on Brexit, baby-boomers, 90's kids and social media. All well-plumbed depths, you might think, but James' hour is lightning quick and strikingly current, with an Ed Byrne dorky self-awareness complementing a Jimmy Carr sardony. Comparisons aside, he's a breath of fresh air on the mainstream scene, with a talent for brilliant beat poetry to boot.

His satisyfing attention to structure and resolution is established from the off with a foreshadowing intro that also establishes his running persona as a vanilla bad boy - a feareless 'prankster' and a devil-may-care controversialist not afraid to say that God might be a man. It's a wry running gag offset by the fact that James' humour actually does have its finger on the pulse, as a 25 year old upstart with a good grasp of comic irony.

Particular highlights come in the form of a letter read out from his 10 year old self, and one subsequently written to a Rhys of the future, a future where meat-eating might just have become the new racism and vegans run the world. A recurring joke played simply and straight down the line about fruit idioms and watermelons also showcases his knack for structured writing that serves to impel the audience through segments. High-functioning delivery is also a trait put to good use, with James managing to fit upwards of 8 punchlines into any one minute.

In his third Fringe run to date, James comes across as a cleverer comedian than ever, with a knowledge of the craft befitting an older and more experienced name. Here's hoping he doesn't get lost in a saturated bracket - his set brims with promise for the future.

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