When you only have forty or so words to play with in the Fringe programme, be careful not to waste them. Reading the moody words used to relate to 25 year old Leeds lad Liam Williams – ‘snarls’, ‘sulky’, ‘negative energy’ ‘demons’ - you could be fooled into being put off seeing his Fringe debut and heading towards a more uplifting comedy store style event instead.
It would however be a shame to miss out on this real treat. Williams may indeed be sultry and scruffy, but he delights the crowd at The Tron. His eclectic repertoire may successfully paint a character which comes across as intrinsically lazy, but in terms of the obvious preparation he has made for this show, he is clearly anything but.
Williams is one of those comedians who portrays a dark outlook on life which only serves to lighten the mood of the audience. From an opening gambit ‘I don’t like my neighbours. Their Wi-Fi connection’s shit’, through to an astonished ‘How did I end up here? I, who left school at 16, before going on to 6th form and university…’ Williams is engaging, haunting and even charming.
He effortlessly switches from memories of his own childhood through to reading pre-prepared poetry and literature (the ‘Time Out guide to 10 dating tips in London’, including ‘drinking cocktails... in a tree’ is a particular show-stopper), blending language and intonation quite beautifully – even if at times some phrases used would benefit from a slower pace in order to mentally translate.
One or two of the interwoven sketches, such as a mockumentary for BBC Four on the ‘Henriettan period’, are a bit lengthy and slightly confusing. But Williams is a metaphorical master with a natural talent to remain well in control of the complex language he uses and the direction he is taking his prose in. See him now before his stock (and Fringe price) rises.