When you are a double Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee and have recently appeared on Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow, it takes a performer ill at ease with the world to call their tour 'The Best Kept Secret in Comedy'. Andrew Lawrence is one such performer.
Small, rakish and with a jawline like cheese-wire, Lawrence prowls the poorly-lit Cabaret Bar stage for the opening ten minutes of his show with the kind of malevolent energy that Edinburgh crowds would flee from without a second though if they came across it in their train carriage or local hostelry. Tonight, though, they fall over themselves to be next to bear the brunt of Lawrence's acerbic, high-pitched misanthropy.
Perhaps they had heard that Lawrence has mellowed. While the amount of audience engagement on show here is certainly a nod in that direction, he is not quite ready to hand out the candyfloss and cuddles just yet. There may also be fewer of the dense streams of invective delivered in a single breath than in previous outings, but when they do arrive (music festivals and the vagaries of travelling with ScotRail being two of the latest targets) they are no less effective and still garner Lawrence many of his biggest laughs.
Lawrence renders redundant the endless Fringe debate about whether it is too soon for jokes about August's rioting and looting with clever new material on that very topic. His agitation regarding the raid on the Sony Factory in Enfield is particularly well pitched and is aimed, as usual, at himself rather than masquerading as any kind of social comment.
With such assured delivery and relevant subject matter, the audience could be forgiven for thinking that an hour with Lawrence flies by. The reality is that he is on stage tonight for nearer to 45 minutes, which is a real shame, particularly as he does not appear short of material. Indeed, he appears intent on showing us his full range tonight: from the multi-layered, breathless rants to more reflective routines about how well (or otherwise) his career has progressed since his McIntyre appearance via a full-blooded a capella song dedicated to people who fail to move out of his way, Lawrence seems to hold little back.
Most comedians come to the Fringe with a plan to execute and only the semblance of a security option should things go sideways. If Lawrence has any plan at all, then it is fluid and it is this insistence on his own talent which marks him out as one of the finest comedians around.
Best kept secret or not, Andrew Lawrence is here for the long haul.