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James Adomian: Lacking in Character

at Gilded Balloon Teviot

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A solidly entertaining show occasionally hits a cultural blind spot

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US comic, actor and impressionist James Adomian is well-known on the other side of the pond for his appearances on hit television shows such as Last Comic Standing and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. However, his UK debut is a little hit-and-miss, with some routines and impressions receiving a more muted response from the audience.

This doesn’t mean that Adomian completely loses his audience, with hits including his routines based on less culturally specific subject matter, such as his versatile impressions of Californian and New York accents, as well as his impersonation of Bernie Sanders, which gained more and more laughs as it progressed.

In addition, Adomian’s routines that combine audience recognition with his talent for vocal impressions are particularly hilarious, such as his imagining of a New York-based Disneyland, complete with a faulty monorail and surly Mickey Mouse-costumed employees, and an inspired anecdote about how a trip to mainland Europe led to shared anti-Americanism overcoming Scandinavian internecine rivalry.

However, some of Adomian’s more US-based material, such as a riff on a conspiracy theory show hosted by US wrestler-turned-politician Jesse Ventura, and a lengthy routine about medicinal marijuana, was met with confused silence, possibly due to the audience’s unfamiliarity with the material. Earlier routines about Edinburgh and Britain are also uncertain, with the usually-confident Adomian admitting that he has limited knowledge of Britain.

Matters weren’t helped by Adomian’s microphone failing mid-way through the show and audience applause from a show taking place in a neighbouring room leaking through. However, Adomian was able to use these setbacks to his advantage, adeptly making light of these issues without letting them disrupt the overall structure of the show.

Lacking in Character is a professional show from an experienced comic that delivers solid laughs when the humour is recognisable. However, a greater awareness of which jokes travel well would help to both tighten up the slightly overlong show and increase its appeal to British audiences.


Adam is a budding film reviewer who is still working out how to use his Masters in Film Studies from Aberystwyth University. His main hobby is watching films, especially Hong Kong action cinema, although he has no (actual) knowledge of martial arts whatsoever! His other interests include stand-up comedy, but only as an audience member, and reading books about film. His quest to obtain a social life is still ongoing...

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