Opening with an over-speaker announcement which both introduced and poked fun at James' self-aggrandisement which is part of his stage persona, he began self-applaudingly, very literally, and did so a few times over, playing into this image of himself as a 'prankster'. He is young, attractive and charismatic and he knows it, and makes use of it.
The material was varied; moving from his personal relationships with his family and girlfriend to letters from his ten year-old self and even political matters. The two former topics offered some funny material, if a little orchestrated and rehearsed, although his funniest moments seemed to be when he was improvising and reacting to the audience, which he could definitely make more of as it worked well. He used his age as a good starting point for a routine on being a 90s baby, which inevitably led to social media and the internet and other contemporary issues. However, much like his image of being a prankster, the 90s baby image was milked a little too much and become tiresome and repetitive.
Moving on to other contemporary issues, James covered fairly typical topics such as feminism and veganism in a fairly light hearted way, at times hitting on really hilarious lines. His best material was on 'baby-boomers' although it did seem to be slightly lost on an audience which largely consisted of this generation. Inevitably, this topic led to Brexit, which, being such a current and highly contentious topic, could have been a real risk but James dealt with it well, mixing a funny play on words with a few profound truths about the attitudes of voters. He quipped about how he came to Edinburgh wanting to politicise his show, but with his best content being his most political, he may well be more inclined towards this comedy than he thinks.
Overall the show was funny, and reasonably lighthearted. There were some hilarious and clever moments, though these weren't sustained throughout the show they did show promise that James has what it takes to be a very clever comedian.
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Rhys James: Forgives is performing at the Pleasance Courtyard at 16:45 and tickets can be purchased here.