Andrew Lawrence: There Is No Escape
It's been seven years since a long-haired Andrew Lawrence serenaded Edinburgh with songs about butchering his loved ones, and walked away with a Best Newcomer award. Tonight, in amongst the usual rumblings about death and the awfulness of other human beings, he's looking back on his comedy career and asking: what was the point?
Lawrence has had incredible success in his career, but failure is kind of his beat, so he focuses on that, pointing out that he's been nominated for every award in British comedy but never won anything (which isn't quite true). Even tonight's audience becomes a topic for rants, the disappointingly small crowd haunting the cavernous Pleasance One being held up as a definite sign that everything, but everything, is shit.
Of course, he's at his best when he's cross. The highlights of this show are his rants, such as his lengthy riposte to a TV producer who told him to stop making jokes about his agent, a beautifully-written tongue twister delivered in a syllable-perfect racing commentator style.
Unusually for him, he seems to be lacking focus on tonight's show, hopping between topics a little too quickly to gain up any real momentum and not really building up a head of steam. Lawrence is one of the best writers in comedy, almost a performance poet who can bewitch an audience with images and rhythms. Tonight's show feels a little half-hearted and, with a running time of around 50 minutes, you get the feeling that he's just glad to get off the stage. He's had highs and lows in his career, but tonight's show is somewhere in the middle. [Bernard O'Leary]