★ ★ ★ ★
All the ingredients are there to make Jake Lambert a household name.
With so many newcomers each year at the festival, it's their second show that dictates whether they'll stick around or not and it's perhaps their more important show. Of course you never get to make a first impression twice, but you also don't want to promise everything in your debut hour and deliver nothing of the same quality and standard again.
That's certainly not the case for Jake Lambert whose second hour Never Mak the Same Mistak Twice is a marked improvement on the debut with even sharper material, even stronger likeability and a touch more vulnerability.
In the show Jake talks about settling down, not wanting children and being afraid of the dark and his material about those topics and others discussed in the show is very strong. He delivers it with a charm and likability that's rare to find on the circuit. He has clear punchlines and they all land very well.
The biggest surprise of the show came towards the end when Jake starts talking about Brexit because as he says in "it’s literally in the contract" for Fringe performers this year. His Brexit analogy was the stand-out joke of the show for me, something about it resonated with me and I couldn't believe I hadn't heard it before. I've heard hundreds of Brexit analogies, listened to many comedians try and tackle the issue through humour but never have I heard an analogy for Brexit as perfect as the one in Jake's show.
There really isn't any faulting his material, but unfortunately where Jake falls down and loses a star is his audience work. If Jake were to read this, it probably won't come as a big surprise to him as I'm not saying anything he doesn't already know. He openly admits at the top of the show that he's not good at small talk, which is fine.
But ironically he makes the same mistake more than twice and continues to ask the audience questions and gives very little back when they respond, disrupting the pace of the show significantly. When Jake did try to give something back it raised some serious questions about his Geography teacher.
There are some comedians on the circuit who can deliver incredibly funny material and also know how to speak to an audience, but if you can only do one well, I'd much rather it be the former. And that's where I feel Jake needs to focus his attention. This show could have run at a tight 35 minutes where he didn't speak to the audience and stuck solely to the material he'd written and spent months on.
Another thing that I felt let him down was his use of video during the show. After asking if anyone had bought premium tickets to his show, Jake stepped to the side, disappeared behind a curtain and played an ad break, serving as a top-up gag to some of the material from earlier on in the show but adding very little. That being said, his end credits were brilliant and rounded off the show nicely as we got to see the people in Jake's life we'd been hearing so much about over the last hour.
If Jake were to rid himself of the distractions and focus solely on his material then I have no doubt that he has a five star show in him. All the ingredients are there to make Jake Lambert a household name and after a couple more Fringe runs he can only build on the very solid foundations he already has in place.
Jake Lambert: Never Mak the Same Mistak Twice runs until 25th August (not 12th) at 8:15pm at the Pleasance Courtyard (Pleasance Below). Book tickets here.