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EDINBURGH 2017 - BWW Review: RHYS JAMES: WISEBOY, Pleasance Courtyard

EDINBURGH 2017 - BWW Review: RHYS JAMES: WISEBOY, Pleasance Courtyard

EDINBURGH 2017 - BWW Review: RHYS JAMES: WISEBOY, Pleasance Courtyard

"It's hard to write an hour of comedy," Rhys James points out to a packed, hot room. It's clear that James has worked hard to create this neatly structured hour of stand-up that's packed with a huge number of ideas and as many clever jokes as possible. The problem is that while it is an excellent showcase of him as a gag writer, there's not much to tie the material together.

James ploughs through material about his parents (with quite a few jokes at his Mum's expense, which she seems to find funnier than much of the audience), his housemate's odd bathroom habits, paranoia of government surveillance and karma, throwing in numerous pop culture references. The result is that different sections appeal to certain people in the audience and, while there's someone laughing at each joke, the points at which the whole audience laugh together are fewer and farther between than you would expect if you've seen James's previous shows.

His onstage persona is somewhere between laddish and brattish, but there are moments where the mask slips. When he laughs at a failed quip or charms people back on side when some audience interaction doesn't go his way, we feel there is a more likeable, smart young man underneath and can't help wondering what an hour in his company might be like if he shared a bit more of himself.

The end of the show tries to tie up loose ends, suggesting there was a theme throughout, but it doesn't quite convince this reviewer - perhaps a better payoff would include the raccoon video we have heard so much about.

Nevertheless, Rhys James: Wiseboy is a showcase hour of compact and clever joke writing with something for everyone and plenty of laughs to be had.

Timings and ticket information for Rhys James: Wiseboy are available on the edfringe website.

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From This Author Natalie O'Donoghue

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