Tony Law: Absurdity for the Common People
4.0Reviewer's Rating

This stand-up show is perfect for punters with a penchant for surrealism. Tony Law gallops through an impressive array of material, from a semi-professional trampoline career in Texas to shadow puppetry about Silk Road. This is certainly one of the most bizarre Fringe events: Tony Law emerges onto the stage in boxing gloves and short shorts; it’s like he fell headfirst into an am-dram prop box and said ‘that’ll do’.

Law often proclaims that he works backwards from a word or idea. For instance, he reverse engineers an entire routine about Colosseum fighting from the neologism ‘gladiating’. He also creates a story about a moose stuck down a well with a luminous eye from playing around with shadows cast by the beam of a high-power torch. This spontaneity means that Law often lapses into moments of Freudian chaos– he goads the critics, shouting ‘review this Guardian’ as he deliberately stutters over a single word for a solid minute.
The persona of Law is fractured. He has several voices that he experiments with – originally Canadian, he goes for a think Texan drawl and shifts into Geordie twang (or perhaps Mancunian – it’s thick northern English). Law tries to explain the method of his madness: he is apparently a time traveller, somersaulting and flipping through a wealth of history and culture.

By the end of the stand-up, you feel like he’s said nothing per se but talked a lot. He even makes a jab at himself for this, when mocking how someone might explain his act: ‘So, this Tony Law, tell me how one of his jokes goes’ – there is no obvious response.

Ultimately, this is a very entertaining show for all its hairpin bends and winding paths. It is similar to Tony Law: A Law Unto His-elf What Welcome, which Law brought to the Fringe last year, but this year Law feels a bit at home in this cosy venue. So grab a pint, get to The Stand and introduce a friend to the dazzling wonder of Tony Law’s unhinged mind.

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