Fresh from the Fringe, Wingman calls itself a ‘new father-son comedy’. It’s a moving piece detailing complicated family dynamics and the potential for forgiveness: the awkward son (Richard Marsh) finds that his mother has passed away, only to be left with his estranged father (Jerome Wright) who hopes to use the funeral and general aftermath to reconcile their friendship. His advances are unsubtle and initially unwanted but when unexpected fatherhood presents itself their relationship takes some unexpected turns.
The narrative is in spoken word, a form of delivery that adapts to the change in plot in a way that is moving; clearly the writers are in command of their material. It adds a satisfying rhythm to the story that is recounted and renders the show more original. A smart use of props combined with flawless acting ensures that the execution of the script is slick.
This piece is enjoyable but it came up against the difficulty of basing comedy on a more sober subject matter: the people around me did chuckle but left looking a little misty eyed too. Whilst I like that comedy can have some more serious weight to it, this piece blurs genres in a way that isn’t necessarily satisfying. Is it comedy if I left feeling sad?
Nevertheless this is a wittily written piece even if some of the jokes hit a little too close to home. The characters find themselves in numerous laughable situations and use comedy to hide greater feelings with a touching effect. As a comedy the show misses the mark but as a short drama it is an uplifting and thought-provoking piece.
Wingman is touring until the 20th October http://richmarsh.wordpress.com/gigs-list/