Andrew Lawrence: The Hate Speech Tour



Assembly Roxy


August 3rd to 28th (Not 15, 22)


A show title like this one may immediately make you wonder just how you should take what is on offer. Is someone courting controversy here? Certainly the performer is putting you on your mettle.

But Andrew Lawrence is nothing if not down to earth. Is he playing straight? Does he care what you think? Well, he may suggest not, but he does spend a fair bit of his first eight minutes or so referring to his critics, which is not really the best of him. At this stage he gets on with saying some of those things many people think you shouldn’t say.

This is a time when there is great sensitivity regarding what is said in public, or even in private. However, we are not expected to agree with everything Andrew Lawrence says – when is this ever the case? And what we definitely have here is a very accomplished and experienced performer, who knows his trade extremely well, and knows just how to relate to his audience.

After making his position clear (if you are to take him at face value), he settles down to stories of family life, of his baby daughter and the experience of family life, with some hilarious lines about sex and relationships; of his own struggles and of contemporary issues. His statement about the virtual epidemic of male suicide is accurate.

Having had to deal with prim academics who will not speak on a platform that has been touched by someone they disagree with, I have a strong tendency to push for the widest possible freedom of speech. And here you have someone who is a brilliant practitioner of his craft, who knows just where to place words for effect, who makes his audience warm to him, and who raises many a laugh.

I suggest having the courage to give this guy a go, decide how to take him, then make up your own mind.

Tony Challis