“Kill Me Now”
Stuart Laws Dragonfly till 24th August
Inside Venue 63, a chandelier jostles for space with a ceiling fan and a flatscreen TV. Down at floor level, things are equally cramped. That’s OK though: it’s raining outside, and our host – Stuart Laws – is on a mission to entertain us. Officially, we’ve been allotted an hour of stand-up comedy, and yet the show is called Stuart Laws Absolutely Will Not Stop, Ever, Until You are Dead. Who knows when the laughs will end. Or begin, as it transpires.
There’s a lot wrong with this show, as the two-star rating and cheery headline may have indicated. We’ll get to that shortly. First though, the good stuff: Stuart Laws is a natural comedian. He’s got the charisma, he’s got the patter and he knows how to work an audience. Breaking the fourth wall? No problem. Dealing with punters leaving? No problem. Winning one-liners that raise the roof? Houston, we have a problem.
There are 1,000 different ways to raise a smile. Not all of them require rapid-fire punchlines like a demented Jimmy Carr on ritalin. At the very least though we need a reason to laugh. It doesn’t matter how it happens: just get us there. For the love of god, make us laugh.
This is where Stuart Laws falls down. The amiable Aussie has no material whatsoever. None. Well, there is a running gag about Center Parcs which wasn’t funny the first time round, and a joke about three 9/11s which wasn’t that great either, and one about colour blindness which was actually OK come to think about it.
It may be the free Fringe, but is this the best we can expect? A colour blind joke and some chatter that’s high on energy and low on lulz?
There’s a reason why this show is called Stuart Laws Absolutely Will Not Stop, Ever, Until You are Dead. It’s because Stuart Laws absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead. The man is relentless. There are no awkward silences because silence isn’t granted a split second in which to foment. That would be OK if Laws was filling his verbal bukkake with something. A message. A story. Anything. It’s astonishing how a man can expend so many words and yet say nothing.
It’s a shame, because Stuart Laws has mastered the basics of comedy. Now all he needs to do is go away and write some material.
“Well. That happened,” mutters a nonplussed punter as we file out. Yes, it did.