WINGMAN – Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh




Last year I purred over Richard Marsh’s “Dirty Great Love Story”,
a blissfully clever, likeable, honest miniature rom-com, observing of its tone “You are in safe hands when the inner monologue of a stag-night has the nerve to rhyme “penis” with a plaintive “We’re grown up men now, some of us have cleaners!”.


I hoped Marsh would find other outlets for the style he had so beautifully evolved: an acted, two-handed narrative in what I can best describe as Relaxed Rap. Or Mellow Middleclass Mashup. Which is to say that he has no fear of rhyme, alliteration, assonance or scansion, and is indeed adept at them all; but neither is he aspiring to some poetry-slam intensity or heroic consistency: he’s happy to drop in utter naturalism of dialogue, and jokey blokey gags which could fall as easily from the classier sort of comic.


This time his director is Justin Audibert, his fellow-player Jerome Wright. The theme is fatherhood, the tale a sour-sweet account of a young man – about thirty – losing his mother to cancer and reconciling with an estranged father. Characters spring to vivid, eccentric life: his mother’s last days of determined individuality “suffering as herself, an awesome autumn”, his own tricky love-life (“what kind of man breaks the heart of a hospice nurse?”) and the invasion of his long-estranged father into the funeral. The absurdity of that funeral itself leads to sour dour jokes – “an old person’s dead, so let’s eat food for a children’s party..”


The father offers to be his “wingman”, helping him pull girlfriends, one of whom seems to be pregnant. which is awkward. The narrator bitterly resents this: the interplay between Marsh and Wright – playing the ultimate annoying Dad – is funny and painful at once. The tale, and its back-story wind on cleverly, dark and light together. Finally there is a good twist, and then another, and a happy ending which leaves you with a grin. to 24 Aug
Rating: four  4 Meece Rating

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