Not to get all ‘footballer after a football match’ about this, but watching Tony Law’s Nonsense Overdrive was a sort of game of two halves situation. He gives it 110% – all the lads out there did today – but he got done on the counter and that’s a dropped three points. Gaffer’s not happy. Big game this weekend on the back of that, but then there’s no such thing as a big game, what with all games being big. World Cup Year. Offside. Fans was brilliant. United. City.
Entirely possible that we have gone off topic a bit, there, but then that’s what let Law down a touch last night – a strong first half performance veered into box-to-box chaos for the last half hour. Law – who you’ve seen on TV, whether you know it or not; he’s that one in the neckerchief and beard (you know the one) – opens with the kind of energy that is exhausting to watch, all windmilling shouts, all finger lasers. At this point he is three-nil up and coasting. Perfect hat trick. Added another £10 million onto his price tag, with that.
But where the show starts so brightly – with Law evoking shades of Connolly and Izzard both, everything seeming so freewheeling and unplanned and bearded – the second half falls off a cliff, and fast. He changes tack from a jump-from-one-side-of-the-stage-quickfire-anecdote-fest to a slow, meandering and not-so-great bit about time travel, and then mainstream comedy, and then this time he went into space. What he’s done there, is he’s conceded four in ten minutes to a mid-table side. To Stoke. He’s got a man sent off, as well. Why the zig from the first half zag occurs is maybe some mistaken nod to the title of the show – Nonsense Overdrive, a follow on from last year’s Maximum Nonsense – but it feels simultaneously half thought-through while fluffily deliberate. With the final puppet-based set piece Law makes a late surge through the box and hits the post – but, ultimately, when the final whistle goes, he’s let himself down. So close to being great. So, so close.
NB: There are absolutely zero football references in Tony Law’s Nonsense Overdrive.
Tony Law: Nonsense Overdrive is at Soho Theatre until 11 January 2014. Tuesday to Thursday £15/£12.50, Friday to Sunday £20/£17.50. Show at 7.30pm.