Andrew Lawrence’s acerbic writing and impishly flowery delivery ultimately couldn’t save tonight’s show from descending into a ramshackle evening of floundering stand up.
When Lawrence is good, he is very good. His writing is tight and he plays on his voice and appearance for a unique delivery. Ultimately, the strongest parts of the set were the pieces that have already been seen on TV. His self-depreciating shtick is par for the course (describing himself as a “creepy-faced ginger prick” is an easy laugh), but he came to depend on it too much. He never quite seemed to relax and it wasn’t clear whether there was a reason for it or it was just his self-conscious style.
Some of the very best comedians aren’t always able to reel in their audience interaction (Ross Noble for one), and when that is misguaged it can really throw a show off. Lawrence’s insistance on repeatedly bringing a rowdy group of students into the act took away from the one reason we were there – to hear what he had to say – and the fact he was still casually chatting to them even as he tried to wrap up the show only seeked to demonstrate the comic wasn’t really in control of his own act – and, curiously enough, didn’t much appear to want to be. There’s only so many times a stand up can try and deflect from his rambling by pointing out he’s rambling – and further insistance that it’s real rambling and not rambling for comedic effect will only have an audience eyeing up the door.
Lawrence is likeable and the big laughs were there – his eloquent rants are quite something to behold and I’d take a punt on him again. When he got in the zone of his scripted material, it all worked – the argument with the policeman, and the conversations with small children were great bits. But it just didnt seem to be a good night. On the strength of this performance, there was just no reason why it should have been spread over two halves with an interval. Although the time went by quick enough, there was no theme or story holding it all together to give things any context, and even Lawrence seemed to be aware he was just winging it at times. Tightening it up to a good, strong hour long show would have worked perfectly.