Rhys James: Forgives | Review by Paul Fleckney
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Rhys James: Forgives

Note: This review is from 2016

Review by Paul Fleckney

Game of two halves for Twitter wunderkind Rhys James. In the transition from the first half – all bantz, all front – to the second – in which he engages with the wider world – he becomes a much better comedian. Being just 25 he is bang in the generation rent/millennial demographic and it’s on these subjects he’s strongest. 

His peers are angry, he tells us. Angry about the baby boomers ruining everything for their generation. Angry about everything. He laments, very amusingly, that he can’t summon that sort of fury, but in simply applying a bit of thought to the subject he skewers the short-sightedness that accompanies their righteous ire. 

Another stand-out routine is on veganism and the tyranny of its more vocal proponents. Perhaps best of all (except his joke about pandas, which is possibly my favourite of the Fringe so far), is when he talks about his relationship with his gran, and the differences between their generations. From that point he throws himself into the future and imagines all the things he’d have to explain that used to exist. It’s a brilliant bit of cultural awareness, and suggests that the more he drills down into a subject the better he gets.

Prior to all this it was a different story. Banter-heavy and kind of annoying. He was a pro-prankster, he lived in a prank hamlet, and we all were sitting in a vibe cabin. That sort of thing. There were plenty of jokes, and an ongoing routine about his girlfriend and housemates, but the standard was lower and it was hard to engage with.

When he’s in that mode he almost seems disengaged himself, as he performs behind the eyes. It certainly felt to me like a barrier was up. Once he made the change from joke algorithm to human being doing stand-up routines, it was more pleasurable to watch and funnier – simple as that.

Anyway, in-between all this, there was some nice silliness on fruit phrases, and James persists with whipping out a bit of rapping/poetry, which unlike his debut did actually add something. So in this, his third full hour, James displays glimpses of how good he can be. For that reason alone I’d recommend it.

Review date: 13 Aug 2016
Reviewed by: Paul Fleckney
Reviewed at: Pleasance Courtyard

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