Rhys James: Begins

James’ appropriately named debut show at the Festival is fast paced, anecdotal and comfortably funny throughout. It begins with a short video looking at the planning and promoting processes for the show which is witty and sets up high hopes for the rest of the hour. Then James’ emerges to face these hopes and delivers a consistently good humoured set of sarcastic and self deprecating, yet slightly arrogant quips and gags.

James doesn’t interact with the audience or read their responses very much. He also doesn’t seem to have much on-the-spot material, but this will inevitably come with practice.

James talks about how, at the age of 23, he has finally become an adult. He’s stopped eating chicken dippers, for one and he’s got a degree in politics too. He also talks about girls, trivial pursuit tactics, the future of online dating and reviews that he has received in the past. He also said later on in the show that he was going to tell us how he got into comedy, but apart from a brief anecdote about being embarrassed in class as a teenager he didn’t really detail this thread any further.

Many of James’ jokes are structured into poetry which is sharp and quite entertaining. He’s mostly witty rather than hysterically funny, and he fires his material out quite rapidly. At points the show does seem a little over rehearsed, like a long speech rather than seeming casual and conversational. James doesn’t interact with the audience or read their responses very much. He also doesn’t seem to have much on-the-spot material, but this will inevitably come with practice. He keeps his jokes pretty clean except for the odd bit of profanity and he occasionally tiptoes into slightly edgier, darker topics but this is brief and not really committed.

It seems that Rhys James has the potential to become a successful comedian, once he gains a bit more knowledge about where he wants his style to go and relaxes into it. As a result this show feels like an alert to stay tuned.

Reviews by Kayleigh Blair

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The Blurb

Pointy debutant Rhys James will tell some brilliant jokes, do some incredible poems, raise his eyebrows a few times and then leave. The whole thing will last around an hour, during which he won't check Twitter once. ‘Sickeningly talented young stand-up. He's a super-sharp writer, with a ton of smart, intricately-written jokes and stories where you're never more than a few seconds away from another punchline’ (Time Out). ‘His hit-rate is prodigiously high... A bright future in comedy surely awaits’ (Fest). ***** (ThreeWeeks). The Telegraph's 18th Funniest Person on Twitter. 18th. That's top 20.

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