Review: Tony Law: Maximum Noonsense – The Stand (1), Edinburgh.
Tony Law is delighted. He’s managed to bag the coveted 12.30 lunch spot, he’s been able to secure preview prices for the whole festival, and his pleas for little promotion have been answered. Bursting onto the stage, Law begins his exuberant, rambunctious hour of comedy by exhorting the audience to join him in his ‘banter’. His bellowing Canadian accent suits his eccentric appearance, intending it to be a mixture of pirate and Viking if his explanation is to be believed. This is Maximum Noonsense, bringing Law’s surreal, 100% accurate (probably) historical journey through his family history to The Stand comedy club.
Absurdist stories feature heavily throughout the show, Law freewheeling his way through a variety of time periods. Long John Silver shares a stage with Marcus Aurelius, characters morphing backwards and forwards at will. The logistics of keeping a dragon in a prison is a particular success, while the show also amusingly explores the difficulties found when looking after trolls. Law has a strong handle on his routine, a keen sense of when to discard and knowing the appropriate time to let loose keeps the show fresh and invigorating. Inevitably, the occasional reference falls flat, but Law’s demented, friendly persona holds the performance together admirably.
It is not just a myriad of bizarre historical figures, however, that Law introduces to his act. He has also been practising a musical instrument. The Ukulele was found to be too difficult, but drawing on his African heritage provides an adequate solution. ‘Dangerous’ comedy is then satirised to nonsensical perfection, providing the show with a pleasing sense of rhythm in more ways than one.
Up to now, Tony Law has been doing fine. The crowd love him, he’s demonstrated musical skill and he has successfully introduced members of his family. There is, however, a familiar problem rearing its ugly head. How does he end the show? Starting with two elephants in a bar, the final stage of the performance descends into brilliant, ludicrous farce. Expect torches, toys and side swipes at popular young comedians. A word of warning: he expects you to sway.
Maximum Noonsense is an incredibly silly, riotous hour of comedy that left the audience in stitches. At a bargain price and too early to impact on any comedy you actually want to see, Tony Law provides a joyful treat that deserves a much higher spot on The Stand billing. Highly recommended.
Date of live review: Tuesday 7th August 2012