★ ★ ★ ★
This year, Rhys James is back at the Fringe with his fourth show Wiseboy.
It's a big year for Rhys, as for the first time ever at the Fringe, he's performing in an actual building. He's also got a fan to keep cool. But only one. And he's bought a screen.
Over the years he's become a firm Fringe favourite and when I knew he'd be back this year he was top of my must-see list.
Last year I was really impressed with Rhys' confidence and self-deprecation and I feel that this year his confidence has stepped up a notch. He has the confidence and ability of someone well beyond his years, and it's worth remembering that Rhys is just 26 and this is only his fourth ever hour.
But his self-deprecation hasn't gone away. For example he still recognises the fact that he's a white middle-class man who was recently given a show on Radio 4.
Is there an overarching theme to Rhys' show? Not really. But there doesn't need to be. What Rhys is very good at is delivery. He knows how to deliver a joke and he knows how to keep them coming.
Despite this, his material is slick, very funny and clearly well-rehearsed and his use of the screen at the end of the show proves.. This year's hour includes jokes about his flatmate's bathroom habits, his parents and in particular a number of jokes about his mother. I won't repeat what he calls her, but if you go and see his show (which you should), you'll find out.
Last year I was excited for what Rhys would bring this year and whilst he's delivered another solid hour of stand-up comedy, there's still another level I'd love Rhys to reach and I really think in the next year or two he'll get there. And once he does, there won't be many who don't know the name Rhys James.