Edinburgh Festival Fringe comedy review: Tony Law: Frillemorphesis, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Paul Whitelaw.
“How do you review this show?” laughs Tony Law during this wonderfully haphazard hour of comedy/performance art. A valid question, so here goes…
A large part of this Canadian fool’s appeal stems from how it’s never always clear if he’s genuinely lost the plot or he actually knows what he’s doing. More so than ever before, I think the truth in this show lies somewhere in between. That’s why he’s so fascinating and frequently hilarious.
Are we to believe him when he says he hasn’t written a show this year? Such is the bleary nature of his meandering goofball style, it’s easy to accept that he never writes material down in the conventional sense. Consulting a notebook full of dead ends and reminders such as “You like animals and are good at clowning”, he revels in making the performance uncomfortable for himself.
He repeatedly bemoans the terrible mistake he’s made with his bozo Jedi attire of heavy cloak and flashing “magic hat”. It’s unbearably hot. Sometimes he hides behind the cloak while growling about the terrible shame he’s brought upon his family. Seemingly genuine shards of self-loathing emerge amidst this nonsense, as he alludes to a recent nervous breakdown and problems with booze. Law being Law, he happily draws attention to these jarring shifts in tone. Remarkably, it eventually builds towards a touching point about the way his core audience of nerdy outsiders help him to make sense of his life and art.
Meta-comedy, anti-comedy, call it what you will, he’s a lovably free-falling master of semi-improvised, discomfiting absurdity. If the mark of a great clown is that you can’t imagine them ever contributing to society in any other way, then Law has a place among the pantheon.
The Stand Comedy Club 3 & 4 (Venue 12) until 30 August / listings
Published in The Scotsman on 22 August 2015
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