Wingman tells the story of a father and son drawn together by the imminent death of Richard’s mother. Father and son have been estranged for 20 years and they come together to witness the passing. However due to their endless bickering, comically manage to actually miss the moment of death and so the story continues to unfold with mum controlling the future from her cremated remains from inside her pink urn.
Richard tries many times without success to shake off his father’s ever annoying presence. His father never ceases to keep trying and eventually succeeds to become his son’s “wingman”.
It has to be said that I’ve never been drawn to poetry before but tonight I truly found my eyes opened to this art form.
With a storyline surrounding the emotionally difficult subject matter of family loss and death it is with throwaway lines such as “mum’s house looks like Laura Ashley has had angry sex with Cath Kidston” and “on the fridge my mother has a bucket list – at the top, must buy a bucket” that leaves you with a bitter sweet laughter that you feel you shouldn’t be laughing at, but can’t stop yourself.
The drama unfolds with a battle of supremacy between a father and son who’ve been estranged for so many years and who both have raging self-blame and feelings of abandonment which are palpable with poetry.
The interactions with each other interjected with direct audience comment allow us to both be a fly on the wall and yet personally involved in the comic yet ever unfolding future for the two characters.
During the comedic chaos Richard manages to father a child by Welsh Brigitte Jones. This in itself seems to be at a tangent to the rest of the show and yet becomes the integral centre and epitaph of the mother with the newborn son taking, much to Richard’s horror, his father’s name? The newly born Len has an auspicious start in life but turns out to be the glue that brings this dysfunctional family back together.
Even a fractured family that becomes even more broken can sometimes be repaired and in this case almost seemingly directed from beyond the grave.
This is a play that is enjoyable to watch the first time, but it has so many layers I’m sure however many times you watch it you would find another layer in its multi-layered depths. Opening in the ‘West End’, and then touring the UK, I’d recommend that you catch it when you can!
Review by Caroline Hanks-Farmer
Wingman by Richard Marsh
Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes
Location times and ticket links: http://richmarsh.wordpress.com/
Twitter @RichardBMarsh @johan_prod
Director Justin Audibert
Cast Richard Marsh and Jerome Wright
Friday 5th September 2014