“I’m not a dickhead,” Will Duggan tells his audience, reassuring everyone that while this particular Edinburgh Fringe venue does get hot and stuffy (propping the doors open would mean disturbing at least two other shows in close proximity as well as having to put up with noise from a bar directly outside), it’s totally fine if anyone needs to step out and get some fresh air if the heat gets unbearable. The other point to note during the housekeeping announcements – for some reason I found this particularly amusing, given the usual meticulousness of the Pleasance Courtyard staff – is that on more than one occasion, people have taken their seats for Duggan’s show, expecting to see something completely different.
Anyway, Duggan is disarmingly honest in his hour-long set (well, either that or he’s very, very convincing), talking about multiple imaginary friends and the time he was arrested for inciting racial hatred (if I recall correctly) – together with his friends, thanks to a gross misinterpretation on the part of the police, somehow mistaking banter for racism. His experiences working in a branch of the Harvester restaurant chain were especially hilarious. I might be giving too much away here, but I’ll take the risk: apparently, due to chef errors, an edict from head office comprised a list of foods to be fried, grilled or microwaved. In an attempt to make it easier to recall, someone in an ivory tower thought it a good idea to acronymise the list’s headings to ‘FGM’. It was the women in the audience who laughed loudest at that one.
Duggan has a warm and engaging manner, and nothing is said that was uncomfortable or controversial, just a pleasant and thoroughly enjoyable hour of good old-fashioned storytelling.
Review by Chris Omaweng
Middle-class Midlander Will Duggan has been sure since birth that he was destined to become an icon and he’s absolutely livid that hasn’t happened. During an odd and turbulent time in very recent history, he found himself questioning every poor decision he has ever made (which turned out to be pretty much everything he has ever said or done). He decided to talk things through with his four oldest friends and try to figure out where it all went wrong.
The problem is that Will hasn’t spoken to these friends for 25 years. And also they are entirely fictional.
31ST JULY – 26TH AUGUST 2019