Paul Williams: Santa Fe
- Henry Northmore
- 23 August 2018
A meta adventure which remembers to keep us laughing
Paul Williams makes his comedy feel relaxed and loose. His rambling intro features songs (including an ode to water parks), opinions and scattershot observations, and with an easy-going charm, personality and self-deprecating wit he keeps all these arbitrary elements together. However Santa Fe really hits its stride when Williams retreats 'backstage' after being heckled about his more famous older brother (Guy Williams is a TV comedy staple back in New Zealand). This crisis of confidence sends us on a woolly journey to the Wild West complete with tumbleweeds, gun fights and 'ponderings' as he tries to readjust to his new life as a cowboy.
It's all nicely meta and Williams works well with his screen, interacting with various filmed sections, photos and props. Continually funny, laidback and offbeat, Santa Fe likes to take the scenic route. Then several of the seemingly random elements come back into play with a series of set-ups and call-backs, and you realise there's far more going on than you'd first appreciated. In many ways it's one long rambling joke that spins off on the wildest of tangents. It looks off-the-cuff but it's incredibly creative and brilliantly timed, all looping back around for a final punchline.
Underbelly Cowgate, until 26 Aug, 4.10pm, £9–£10 (£8–£9).