Andrew Lawrence: Social Leprosy For Beginners & Improvers

Note: This review is from 2007

Review by Steve Bennett

If some people see the world through rose-tinted spectacles, Andrew Lawence’s lenses must be smeared in shit.

Cursed by being ginger, ugly and a voicebox that makes him sound like Charlie Drake, he is filled with nothing but hate and contempt for a bleak world full of misery, rejection and appalling people. To avoid contact with the human scum that engulf him, he strives to be a social leper, hoping others will shun him with the passion that he shuns them.

This is an hour of unmitigated misanthropy, as Lawrence spreads universal scorn upon every miserable soul he’s forced to encounter day after depressing day. There’s not an ounce of hope or humanity in this relentless tirade… and it’s absolutely hilarious.

He expresses his festering negatively beautifully, a relentless onslaught of savage adjectives and corrosively evil metaphors. The florid language, the ceaseless pace of great lines and the vigour with which he pursues his derision all combine for a barnstorming show.

A lot of comics might mock chavs, for instance, but Lawrence does it with such force, pounding away with a series of furious, devastating putdowns that anything else is bound to look weak in comparison. Lawrence’s takes on the terminal illness called life are funny because they’re evil. Pure evil.

He doesn’t care what he says, so the attitude goes, his life is already shit, reduced to paying thousands of pounds to perform in a customised skip to people he despises (nothing personal, of course, he despises all people).

After last year’s critically acclaimed show, Lawrence has ditched his usual guitar, using only an onslaught of perfectly-placed words to educate the audience as to how to be so repellent in appearance, communication and deed that they will be guaranteed a wide birth. A few of the ideas go slightly off target, but only a very few.

For a man with such a distinctive voice, Lawrence can also conjure up some surprisingly realistic impersonations of other people to illustrate his points. They all do sound as strangulated as he does, but still somehow distinctive.

It all adds to his arsenal with which he takes on this gloomy world, and witnessing him put up such a spirited struggle against happiness and joy is a powerful, achingly funny catharsis.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

Review date: 1 Jan 2007
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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