Review: Tony Law, Soho Theatre

Tony Law

Tony Law has always been a bit of a loon. It's just that the rest of the world finally seems to have caught up with him. Having picked up a Foster's Award nomination in 2012 he has consolidated his position as the go-to guy for onstage ridiculousness with his subsequent two shows. For those who have yet to experience the madness Enter The ToneZone, complete with bad trombine-playing and low impact audience participation, is a pretty good entry point. Great facial hair too. This review first appeared in the Evening Standard here. Tony Law is at the Leicester Square Theatre from Jan 29 - 31 then touring. Details here.






Some comedians gigging last night no doubt responded directly to the events in Paris. That would not fit in with Tony Law’s absurdist style, which rarely has a toehold on topicality. Instead the madness of his show, Enter the ToneZone, offered a brief respite from the different kind of madness elsewhere.

The bearded 45-year-old found his offbeat, oddball voice with his Foster’s Award-nominated monologue in 2012. He has yet to improve on that magnificently unhinged hour, but at its best this one comes close. The moments where he played beach ball with a fan or played the trombone badly were almost transcendentally funny.

But there were other times when he struggled to maintain momentum. His performance started at a furious pace that was impossible to sustain, as he exuberantly mocked his choice of onesie as an outfit and claimed that he does not tell jokes. Instead he just “chucks a few words around”, hoping that the audience will find their own punch lines.

Occasionally this technique works brilliantly, such as when he started discussing the Trojan Wars, probably the unlikeliest of stand-up subjects. In fact the weakest routine was a more conventional story about the death of his sausage dog, Cartridge Davison.

But the finale was pure joy, as he pulled together all the disparate references and turned them into a beautifully eccentric song that happened to celebrate freedom of expression. Just what was needed last night*.

*This review originally appeared the day after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris.


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