Tony Law: A Law Undo His-elf What Welcome | Gig review by Steve Bennett at Leicester Square Theatre, London

Tony Law: A Law Undo His-elf What Welcome

Gig review by Steve Bennett at Leicester Square Theatre, London

Damn Tony Law for making my job difficult. ‘Good luck explaining this to your friends,’ he tells his audience midway through another convoluted stream of consciousness: a typically surreal, digressive meander, peppered with oddball performance flourishes.

Clean-shaven and newly sober after decades on the booze – a vice now apparently replaced by ice-cream, to the detriment of his waistline which he’s holding back with gaffer tape. But sobriety has made him no less clear-headed in his erratic performance. ‘Did he do that on purpose?’ he asks of himself at one point, adopting the voice of the audience. That – as always – is for him to know and us to guess.

However haphazard it all seems, there is some substance behind the maelstrom of non sequiturs, with glimpses into his real life, or even just simple observational routines, mangled into the peculiar shape that has come to be associated with a shambolic Tony Law show.

On this night, he’s slightly off even his own arhythmic beat, finding himself especially thrown by a couple of slightly chatty girls – mildly distracting but not disruptive enough for him to invoke a nuclear option. So find himself prevaricating between putdown and blanking them, never quite setting for a satisfactory solution. And of course he draws attention to that very awkwardness that he’s exacerbating, part of a performance style that revels in being unfiltered.

It’s gonzo comedy: erratic, unconventional and idiosyncratic as Law flits between unconnected ideas like a wasp with attention deficit disorder.

In some moments of strangeness he channels the spirit of the late Chris Lubey – a circuit comic whose act was impersonating RAF fly-pasts – then he’s on about a lizard-moose who can see the future . A large chunk is delivered in an accent from America’s Deep South for no particular reason. Some of the tales might be considered metaphor – his past life as a  trampolining champ mirroring some ups and downs in his mental wellbeing – most might be considered just plain surreal, for you can’t spell Tony Law without WTF.

This isn’t, perhaps, vintage Law, but he’s never less than intriguing: funny peculiar as much as it is funny ha-ha, though if you buy tickets for a show with a title as cumbersome as A Law Undo His-elf What Welcome, that’s only to be expected. And if you’re not on Law’s wavelength you’ll get baffled, and quite possibly angry, at how such nonsense could possibly pass as comedy.

Even as fan, such a queer onslaught might leave you feeling like you have an ice-cream headache. Either way, you will be left in no doubt that you have seen a Tony Law show… there’s nothing else quite like it.

Review date: 24 Oct 2016
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Leicester Square Theatre

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