Tony Law: The Dog of Time

Note: This review is from 2006

Review by Steve Bennett

Review

Tony Law has often struggled to marshal the excesses of his surreal imagination and original thinking into something audiences can still find easy to digest. With Dog Of Time, he's damn near cracked it with an hour that's silly, but still makes a point, odd without being aimless, and funny without compromise.

The bequiffed Canadian cheerily admits he's a 'jackass', but one with such immense charm and such sharp, if eccentric, intelligence that he is skilfully able to draw you into his ridiculous ideas, convincing you there really is something in them.

Broadly the premise is that he's been travelling through time with his sausage dog Cartridge Davidson, who decided to stick around in the Viking era and not return to present-day Edinburgh. That sounds contrived, and certainly not the most appealing pitch for a show, but Law offers a much more eclectic collection of ideas than that. So if you don't like one angle he takes, another will swiftly follow.

His flights of fancy might take us to imagining Romulus and Remus suckling at the teat of a squirrel, for instance, but they have real punchlines that ensure we're not just listening to the random mutterings of a madman. Then there's the time capsules that arrogantly mock the generations of the future and boast how our wasteful ways ruined their life ­ making eco-preaching hilarious by turning the good intentions on its head.

He's self-referential, not only obsessing about the size of the audience, but introducing routines with such lines as 'here's my prepared observational material about what happens at dinner parties' Subtle links are such an alien concept for Law that he's invented a sponsor ­ a South African craft shop ­ whose deliberately ill-conceived adverts can buy him time to reverse out of the comedy dead-ends he wilfully saunters up.

The show loses its way a bit with the central time-travelling concept, and routines about how Cartridge was hailed as an ancient Greek god then elected as a Roman senator don't quite come off. It's the one concept that's hardest to buy in the entire show.

But this is a bold, ambitious attempt to do something different ­ and if you're prepared to cut him some slack because of it, Law will reward you with an hour of uniquely inspired comedy.

Steve Bennett

 

Review date: 1 Jan 2006
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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