A Tony Law Show

Note: This review is from 2004

Review by Steve Bennett

Considering the number of accomplished comics performing across Edinburgh to half-empty rooms or worse, Tony Law has a pre-gig atmosphere that most would kill for. It is entirely oversold, with all the anticipation of a late-night comedy club, yet this established Canadian never manages to set the room alight.

Listening to Law for an hour is essentially like spending time with a stoner-cum-philosopher. He establishes no pretensions or precedents, apparently simply talking about anything that occurs to him at that minute.

So at one point he'll be discussing a strategy to coerce mice into playing hockey, before jumping on to the lack of bubblewrap in Nicaragua. Many other comics similarly weave through their surreal thoughts but Law can never really establish the bizarre as commonplace in the minds of his audience.

His set is entirely without any sort of structured gag, leaving his audience unsure of when to laugh and, indeed, what at. Many are possibly laughing at him and his own twisted mind, gathered from the laugh that goes up whenever he randomly changes subject, for example, the conversation suddenly twists from the pros of owning a talking dog to a discussion about China.

Law highlights the inconsistencies of his own thoughts, creating the image of a self-reflexive comic, acting as both comedian and critic. As he also consistently points out, there are no links at all, yet this is nowhere near as big a problem as the lack of actual material to link.

But he is a confident comic performer who could create giggles from the very bleakest of material. He has a versatile and engaging voice, whilst his on-stage manner is that of a hyperactive child, constantly running around or putting a microphone in his mouth "just because I don't get the chance at home".

Such powerful delivery only delivers anti-climaxes, though, as he constantly appears on the brink of unleashing a hilarious line before just moving on to the next subject in the most random of juxtapositions.

Complete with a fuzzily focused ending - a sentiment, which, appropriately enough, would safely describe the entire hour ­ this show constantly fell frustratingly short of expectations and potential.

Review date: 1 Jan 2004
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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