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ED FRINGE REVIEW Rhys James, Forgives


I’ve never seen Rhys James live before, and I’ve only really seen him a couple of times of TV on ITV2's Elevenish, but he came highly recommended and I was left wondering why I’d never seen him before.

Late afternoon/early evening and we're all ushered into what Rhys goes on to call the "Vibe Cabin", and cabin is perhaps the perfect word to describe. Staff at the Pleasance announce before the show starts that the performance has sold out (always bodes well) so we had to shuffle up.

Despite the room being at an uncomfortable temperature and being a bit too close to the stranger next to me due to the shuffling up, it was worth it as Rhys delivered an hour of stand-up which was cleverly constructed and what you'd hope from a comedian, very funny.

Before the show started, Rhys went through a couple of disclaimers, one of which was that later on in the show, he'll be impersonating his father, so if any bloggers (that'd be me) were in the room, he's not xenophobic, he just can't do accents very well.

Another disclaimer, although this one came during the show and I feel it's essential to include it in my review in case the NSPCC are reading this (long shot, but you never know) - Rhys does not wipe his arse with puppies.

Don't worry though, the show isn't just a series of disclaimers. The one about wiping his arse with puppies (he doesn't) is part of a joke about advertising and how Andrex have used cute puppies to make customers think they're wiping their arse with puppies (I hope they're not).

Other material included jokes about the nineties - not being able to walk around a corner without fear of being gunged, social media - those "cool" people who aren't on Facebook, the obligatory (it seems) joke about Brexit and watermelon. No that's not a typo, watermelon.

Rhys quite rightly points out that apples and cherries own the fruit based quotes market - "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" - "Pop your cherry" - so he wanted to give watermelon its own quote... to varying levels of success, but a very funny routine none-the-less.

Midway through his bit about watermelons, a watermelon shaped purse comes flying out from the audience and onto the stage. Part of the routine, I thought. After all, it would be too much of a coincidence for an audience member to attend a show about watermelon and happen to have a watermelon shaped purse with them . Wrong.

It turns out that this was 100% genuine. On the most part Rhys took it well, but it did knock him for six a little bit and it took him a little time to recover from that bizarre moment and get back into into his routine.

And more left-field than watermelons, there were occasions when Rhys would break out into spoken word and even took it upon himself to parody Kanye West, changing the lyrics to I Love Kanye from being all about Kanye, to being all about him.

All in all, he delivered his material with the perfect mixture of confidence and self-deprecation, a combination which the audience and myself really enjoyed.

Remember, Rhys is not xenophobic and does not wipe his arse with puppies. But he is a very good comedian and for only his third show I think he's done exceptionally well and can't wait to see what the future holds for him.

Rhys James: Forgives will be on at the Pleasance Courtyard until Sunday 28th August at 4:45pm

Extra performance at 9:45pm on Friday


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