Adam Hess: Cactus

★★★
comedy review | Read in About 2 minutes
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Adam Hess
Published 17 Aug 2017

Adam Hess is an interesting and inventive act, whose consistency borders on exhausting and whose idiosyncratic delivery grates over the course of an hour. Cactus is a slightly maddening show in that it can only really be criticised for a lack of tonal variation. Sitting through it is not a fully satisfying experience, and yet one would struggle to pinpoint material unworthy of performance. It's notable that attention appears to wane randomly throughout the audience, with no consensus reached as to what qualifies as a failure or success. Everyone comes back on board in their own time, however, and buys into the show's dramatic narrative arc.

Perhaps best known for his scattergun one-liners, which come in the form of facts about himself, Hess is equally adept at anecdotes that seem to take just as little time to recite. While it's the norm for standups to present themselves as low status losers, there's something compelling about the man's commitment to playing this part. Amiable and slick, he's like a bizarro Michael McIntyre incapable of masking his insecurity. Self-deprecation marks a large majority of his material, intentional or not.

Too much of a good thing; this isn't the game-changing show Hess could very well have in him, but rather a confidence building exercise: a nervy, jittery attempt at structuring punchy routines into whole bigger than its parts.