Tony Law: Frillemorphesis

Wed 5th – Sun 30th August 2015

reviews

Ella Wilks-Harper

at 21:24 on 10th Aug 2015

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To describe Tony Law as a bit of an odd-ball wouldn’t quite cut it. Decked with a cape, trombone and a horse mask, the packed out Stand Three stage at the Stand Comedy Club was taken on an absurd comedic journey, meeting all manner of hilarious self-deprecating humour along the way.

The origin of the neologised title, Frillemorphosis, was revealed when Law confessed that he “didn’t know what metamorphosis was, so changed it and made my own word.” The show continued in this home-made and imaginative way throughout, which meant that the entire performance lacked any coherency and I was left completely at loss at what I saw, but not in an unenjoyable fashion.

However, the humour remained on point throughout the mishmash of bizarre digressions. Refreshingly honest, Tony immediately peered out to the audience exclaiming that there’s definitely middle class young reviewers likely to be out there, determining his livelihood. At that moment, I found myself slipping down in my seat, furtively hiding my notebook and ‘Ed Fringe Review’ emblazoned jumper.

But his blunt and haphazard take on life was what made Tony such a pleasure to watch. This bold and blundering comedian was unafraid to draw attention to his flaws, commenting on the conventional fixed structure of standard comedy shows that starts strong, slows down and then picks towards the end. Law’s own show seemed completely unstructured but somehow managed to hold our attention, spluttering along in effortless hilarity. An element that worked particularly well was the way he talked to himself, speaking in third person and immediately transforming into a rather more light-hearted and better fed Gollum.

The high point of the hour was when he managed to put on a horse mask from within his cape, followed by a display of trombone playing and drinking through the mask. Another disconcerting but crowd-pleasing moment was when Law left the stage and staggered into the audience to rest, chatting nostalgically to individuals about some imaginary shared past.

To some, Law’s bizarre style of comedy might be objectionable, or at the very least tiresome after an hour, but for most in The Stand Comedy Club, this was not the case. Confronted with his beguiling stage presence, I have seldom laughed so hard at 1.30 in the afternoon.

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Abigail Smith

at 09:16 on 11th Aug 2015

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I should begin my review with a disclaimer to Mr Law: I am one of the “posh 19-year old reviewers/wankers” that he dreads. Despite this scathing attack on my journalistic integrity, I thought his hour-long set was brilliantly bizarre, and did indeed “help me feel a little better about myself”, proving a welcome relief from the often homogenous Fringe stand-ups.

It’s difficult to give an outline of what the sell-out show involved; as Law frequently sought to assure us, he himself had no idea what he was doing. As he entered the stage with a light-up hat, a cape, and a trombone, I groaned, feeling sure that I was going to watch one of those ‘funny-and-relatable-guy-from-the-pub’ type comedians. Instead, Law flittered around the stage, chattering away on absurd topics, beginning a train of thought only to decide it would be more interesting to comment on some “old bloke” in the audience. He himself reflected on these non-sequiturs, sighing as he noted that “he’s opened a lot of ideas hasn’t he”.

It was dizzying trying to follow any form of plot, and like any diligent reviewer I tried valiantly to find some poignant meaning behind the surreal. Law himself cheerfully admitted that this was pointless; he frequently mocked the idea of any cohesion, melodramatically pondering: “is a painting ever finished?”

The show was an equal mix of comedy and self-deprecating commentary. Frequently wrapping himself up inside of his cloak like a vampire with multiple battling personalities, he held conversations in cartoonish accents, with one voice sternly telling another “don’t do racist voices!” Law described the madcap soliloquising as an extended nervous breakdown, reflecting (here with genuine poignancy) on his alcoholism and his regrets, before stopping this thought to pull on a plastic horse’s head and playing the trombone.

Occasionally his humour fell flat, such as the increasingly wearying jokes about the venue’s air-conditioning. He was quick enough to note when there was a lull in the audience’s laughter, and with one quick comment he was back onto surer footing. He was right to say that an hour set was pushing it — any longer and it would have become tiresome.

This madcap menagerie of a show is certainly out of the ordinary; it is refreshing in its light-hearted dejectedness and frank absurdity throughout, and it is impossible to tell whether or not Law actually was just improvising on the spot. This façade is clearly what his audience lives for: “we’re here to see you make it up, you fucker”, one of his voices reminds him. The joy of the show lies in the equilibrium it finds between madness and carefully concealed skill.

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