Tony Law: A Law Undo His-elf What Welcome.
Leamington Spa, Royal Spa Centre. March 2017
For a crazy guy, Tony Law has a surprisingly settling warmth and familiar appeal. His seemingly random on-stage ramblings are laced together with a healthy dose of physical theatre and more side-tracking than a spider crab negotiating a particularly tricky slalom. What seems like an anarchic mix of ideas and the thinnest of material delivered at varying pace and volume is actually relateable and hilarious comedy, delivered in a non-threatening and inclusive hour and a half or so, and this audience gave him a lot of love.
Self-effacing as ever, Law opens the set with general acknowledgements that he isn't everyone's cup of tea and doesn't really have any jokes. To prove the point he delivers a pointless joke with no punchline but due to his comic artistry claims a huge and well-deserved laugh, setting the tone for the rest of the evening. And this ability to make absolutely anything funny is obviously the key to his success. Although he is at pains to appear quite directionless we are not fooled, he obviously has structure to his set and knows more or less where he is going but despite this he constantly veers off-topic in a way that simply can not be rehearsed. Wherever his radar then ends up taking him he has the speed, spark and experience to mine deep seams of comedy gold on any subject from Bonobo monkeys to Second World War fighter planes.
At times it was clear he often forgot what he was saying and very occasionally veered off down a bit of a dry cul-de-sac. If this happened he didn't waffle to cover but instead just took a different turning. One or two of his visual gags fell slightly flat and there were a few skewed sound cues too, but he remained unthwarted and focused, and simply rode the punches with ease. Many of the hundred-plus crowd had seen him before and were obvious fans, but he didn't pander to them or indulge anyone, this was a new show with all new material and old and returning punters alike were treated to a great value for money performance.
At the end the audience was left feeling as though they had shared with him and each other the exhausting journey through the chaotic wilderness of his mind. What was it, we wondered, that gave him the strength to do that stuff on stage every night? Where does he get his energy from? The answer is almost certainly that Tony Law is a hard-working, highly intelligent talent that was simply born to perform. Thank goodness for that, now let's all have a lie down.