Comedy review: Tony Law: A Law Undo His-elf What Welcome

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Tony Law is a changed man.

Rating: ****

Venue: Assembly Hall (Venue 35)

Not only has he shaved off his talismanic beard and put on weight, he’s travelled the road to redemption since last we saw him. It’s time, he says, to make things up to his family.

Is that why he’s exchanged his usual afternoon Fringe slot at alternative comedy mecca The Stand for the more commercial climes of the Assembly? Has this notoriously offbeat clown sold his soul and gone mainstream?

Thankfully, fans needn’t worry. He’s still the weirdo goofball you know and love. It’s just that in the past 12 months he’s gone into therapy.

But this being Law, his latest show isn’t a soul-searching confessional. That’s not his style. However, buried obliquely within his trademark explosion of non sequiturs and careering trains of thought, are telling nuggets of autobiography.

A typically silly flight of fancy about his early 1970s glory days as a semi-pro trampoline champ appears to be, fleetingly, a metaphor for manic depression. He jumps up and down, but prefers it in the middle. He may also be reflecting on his struggles as an outsider artist when he relays tales of his agent – a tiny reptilian moose with a literally starry eye. You can never quite tell, which is why he’s so magnetic.

It may look as though he’s babbling a stream of inspired nonsense, but there’s always a kind of wayward structure and point to Law’s act. Granted, the theme of redemption never goes anywhere. He loses steam towards the end, but his Edinburgh shows are a daily work in progress. It’s being Tone-honed before your very eyes. He’s gradually self-improving.

“People come to see me to check I’m doing okay,” he semi-jokes at one point. This year, it looks like he’s doing just fine.

• Until 28 August. Today 8pm

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