Liam Williams: Just The Tonic

Review by Bernard O'Leary | 14 Aug 2013
  • Liam Williams

Although there have been plenty of morose, eloquent comics down through the years, like Dylan Moran and Andrew Lawrence, there's always room for one more. In this impressive debut hour, Liam Williams states his case for being our new favourite depressed jester. He may not be 100% ready, but he's definitely a strong candidate. 

A largely biographical show, Williams looks back on the terrible mistakes and missed opportunities that lead to him being a standup comedian. We're treated to his attempts at being a serious artist: an extract from his sub-Salinger novel, a description of his many plays, and even a monologue from the BBC Four documentary he'd like to make. Some of these set pieces are delivered with an intense beatnik energy and end in what seem like genuine outbursts of violence, with the comic kicking furniture around the stage and fizzing with anger.

It's this sense of danger that makes Williams so memorable. Angst is cheap and anyone can do self-deprecation, but Williams seems to genuinely be baring his soul and risking his sanity here, adding menace that's missing from so many other shows. It's the best kind of Edinburgh debut: he's not a finished product, but a swirl of exciting talents with the potential to be something truly special. 

Liam WIlliams, Just The Tonic @ The Tron, 1-25 Aug (not 13), 10.20pm, £9.50 (£8.50)