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Tony Law: Go Mr Tony Go!

Note: This review is from 2011

Review by Steve Bennett

Writing a review of Tony Law’s semi-random mental outpourings is almost redundant; I could just reproduce the comments that he tags on to his own material and be done with it. The best analogy he draws is with jazz music. For half an hour he loves the free-form, fragmented noise – then cries in desperation: ‘Just pick a melody and stick with it’.

Perhaps aware of that, this hour has just 45 minutes; half of which is inspired, surreal, brilliance – the other half of which comprises running jokes outstaying their welcome, confused ideas needing a payoff and awkward self-idulgence. However much he gets laughs from drawing attention to this, it has diminishing returns.

It’s frustrating, but he probably wouldn’t want it any other way. His blithe spirit and blatant disregard of traditional form is what makes him such an exciting prospect, even if it’s also his undoing. Oh, what classical tragedy!

But let’s concentrate on the flashes of genius. This commanding Canadian gets great mileage out of the fact his show starts at the ridiculously early time of noon – and he even says the word in a way that makes it funny, part of the preposterous, posturing delivery that is one of his trademarks. Another is the voice of the inner audience giving him such feedback as ‘Tony, that an interesting idea, tell me more…’ is a good device to square his weirdness with expectations, and there are some great ideas and punchlines in the mix.

He’ll probably flatten out a few of the lumps in ths show in the next day or two; the musical finale is certainly handled with more disjointed awkwardness than even he planned, and as more ad libs prove to work, they’ll be permanently stick to the skeleton of the show and boost the laugh rate. The film of him as a banker being interviewed on screen just seems out of place though.

In a sea of identikit comedians, Law’s attitude is always refreshing and frequently funny. He expects his audience to know the tropes of stand-up so he can subvert them; which indeed he does.

But you expect shows that are half brilliant, half padding and running short from under-prepared newbies, not experienced hands who have every potential to be comic royalty, but who seemingly can’t get all the pieces in place to make it happen. Yet he’s so engaging and clearly talented, that you’re willing it all to work. Go, Mr Tony, Go, indeed…

Review date: 7 Aug 2011
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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