It sounds like Tony Law has had a turbulent year. He returns to the stage with an air of a wise traveller, declaring that he has been doing “a whole lot of therapy lately” and has recently given up drinking. He states that we are all mainly there to “see if he’s alright,” which, it may surprise Law to hear, rings partly true.
An enlightened Tony Law is perhaps even more fascinating than his more bashful, younger self. He’s just as enigmatic, just as physical and certainly just as shouty, but his latest hour brings more personal elements than audiences have previously been subject to. That is not to say that his show is free of hilarious gimmicks and props: an extremely heavy cape, the plastic head of a horse, Mickey Mouse gloves, a trombone.
There are more down-to-earth elements of Frillemorphesis than I have noticed in previous shows. Tony frequently references his family pets, time spent at last year’s Edinburgh Festival and even the car he drives (it was a shock to most that he is even allowed on the roads, judging by the fact that half an hour previously he had been energetically impersonating a horse).
It is intrinsically important that we don’t get too caught up in Law’s narrative, as this often leads to confusion. The trick is to let yourself get swept up and trust that this comedian will tie up all the loose ends eventually. I don’t know how he does it but the mayhem is invigorating. He’s very aware of his own absurdities but doesn’t seem to care in the slightest. And though his surreality may alienate audience members who don’t follow, it only serves to strengthen the sense of community within those who do: Tony refers to his stand up as “a bit of a group effort,” and in many respects he is absolutely spot on. The audience of a Tony Law gig is a hell of a lot rowdier than that of many other performers I have seen; we reflect his own energy and enthusiasm. In this sense, I believe that Tony Law is comedy at its finest. And all over by 9.30pm.