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Tony Law – Edinburgh Festival review

Saturday, August 18 2012

There's no way to describe it, you simply must see it for yourself, says Sarah Sharp of the new Tony Law show


Tony Law















Wacky, weird, and looking more than a little windswept, Tony Law strides onstage and tells us about his half-pirate half-Viking lineage. His front row audience is a line-up of history’s warlords and those that aren’t he heckles with ferociously nice remarks. Then there’s the uncle who became an actual dragon and the medley of elephant voices that gets out of control. To try and explain the brilliance of what Tony Law does almost seems to miss the point. There is no way to describe it; there’s no point in describing it. You must simply see it for yourself.

Explaining that he was adamant that he would only do a show if it they gave him the lunchtime slot and put up no posters, Law still finds himself playing to a packed out room laughing uproariously. BANTER! Is part of what he does. Only not very well, so we dally with shock comedy. Still nothing. He decides to give musical comedy a crack – on steel drums, the only instrument he could pick up in time. But this proves strangely lugubrious, and that’s where the elephants come in.

The crux of his appeal seems to lie in how he can be two contradictory things at once. He’s a larger than life presence that consumes the stage – but he has none of the overbearing ego of other comics command that level of energy. His material is surreal almost to the point of nonsense, yet at the same time is satirically astute. It’s clever but daft, sophisticated but senseless, expertly idiotic and meticulously madcap. The conversations with imagined interlocutors, the ceaseless self-interrogation (‘Tony, why would you do that…?’), the multi-character skits getting out of control – it’s a perfect hour of fine-tuned chaos which cannot be recommended highly enough. It may be lunchtime, and there may be no posters, but this is a tour de force not to be missed.

5 stars

Tony Law – Maximum Nonsense is on at 12.30pm at the Stand


Review written by Sarah Sharp

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