Edinburgh Fringe review: Tony Law, Enter The Tonezone
“I’ve lost the thread of what’s happening here.”
The fact that Tony Law – cultivator of the ridiculous, master of the non-sequitur – has admitted things have gone off the boil a bit, should go some way to describing how bizarre and shambolic his set at The Stand tonight really is.
There’s a fine line between inspired chaos, the kind we saw with Law’s last few shows, and a bodiless, disjointed mass of absurdity. Sadly, at least in tonight’s incarnation, Enter the Tone Zone is not enough of the former and too much of the latter.
That’s not to say there aren’t moments of joy; Law’s tribute to interpretive dance, beginning with him rolling around with a beach ball and concluding with an agonizingly protracted bit of passing between him and an audience member, is the sort of childlike eccentricity that Law does best. Few comedians possess the level of magnetism required to turn an act relatively routine into a delightful spectacle of silliness.
Perhaps it’s a reliance on his innate, quirky appeal that finds the show lacking. An albeit impressive range of accents, and bending over to treat front-row punters to “the money shot” can only gloss so far over the lumbering lack of focus. Any semblance of content, of a fledgling idea, are batted away all too quickly, leaving bits that sparkled with potential untapped, and the audience simply to watch Law bounce between increasingly unhinged non-starters.
Law addresses his audience in the assumption that most are familiar with his shtick, and it’s a good job many are; though he derives laughs aplenty from his slapdash first half, the spaces between the half-formed chunks of material increasingly shine light on the set’s cracks.
With his agent pressing him to be more personal with his material, Law recounts the most coherent part of his show; a life-changing moment, and the reactions of his immediate family. Hugely at odds with the rest of the show, it’s a great bit, revealing and funny, maintaining a slight air of the surreal.
It doesn’t prove quite enough to pull back the show, however, which overall proves a little too “off-piste”, even for Law.
Date of live review: 12 August 2014 @ The Stand, Newcastle