Edinburgh 2013 review: Andrew Lawrence: There Is No Escape, Pleasance Courtyard


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The Independent Culture

"Who wishes they were dead?" As stand up's leading exponent of misanthropy and misery, Andrew Lawrence tends to go beyond the stock 'What's your name and where are you from?' audience interrogation. But fear not, if you cannot muster the requisite amount of depression and disappointment, the ginger ninja nihilist will supply it for you.

We go with him on his anhedonistic journey because either Lawrence is exposing a weakness we'd never admit to (a cynical selection of friends based on status, for example) or because of the fascination there is to be had in watching someone strip themselves down inadequacy by inadequacy. "In London I'm ugly. The further north I go the more things improve..." he informs us, self-deprecating while insulting many of his punters at the same time. 

There Is No Escape is a pretty routine day at the office for Lawrence. The momentum of last year's show is still there, but at this stage in the run the 33-year-old's motors are just ticking over. The flow is discernibly arrested in comparison with last year and his trademark vitriolic passages, delivered in an almost Gregorian chant style, require Lawrence to practically take a running jump at them.

There's little doubt that a more feverish pitch will be achieved during the run and that most audience members will find the show more life-affirming than they thought possible. For any that don't, Lawrence might say his work there is done.