Pleasance Courtyard (Bunker), Edinburgh
In the great gamble of the Edinburgh Fringe, location is all important. Comedian Will Duggan has somehow wound up in the unprepossessing Bunker, a grim sweatbox a short stroll from the Grand. Even in the current showery weather conditions, it feels disagreeably sticky, despite the presence of an air conditioning unit chugging gamely along on the sidelines. It doesn’t help that the guy on the door instructs us not to occupy the front row, which leaves Duggan with the discouraging prospect of a line of empty seats right in front of him. He gives it his best shot though, pitching himself as a perennial loser and getting the audience firmly on his side.
This is mostly about the poor decisions he’s made throughout his career. He always believed he was destined for greatness but now finds himself positioned in the middle ranks of the comedy circuit and wondering how he might take the next big step up. He tells us about the four (imaginary) childhood friends who guided him through the hard times and whom he hasn’t spoken to for twenty-five years. Perhaps they can help him make sense of it all.
Duggan is an affable chap with an engaging line of patter and a self-deprecating honesty. Today, he seems a little rushed, hurrying through his routine. I’d like to see him take his foot off the accelerator and cruise a little more, giving his one-liners more time to connect. I enjoy his story about learning sign language, but am rather less impressed when he reveals the reasoning behind it – and the sequence where he recreates his end-of-term school concert appearance might have been even funnier (and braver) if it were conducted in total silence.
Still, grim venue and lousy weather notwithstanding, Duggan is a comedian we’ll try to catch again the future – hopefully in a more agreeable setting.