Wil Greenway

Wil Greenway: The Ocean After All


Underbelly Bristo Square (Dexter), Edinburgh

There are certain artists you see at the Fringe, who seem to define it so totally that the thought of not seeing them the following year is somehow unthinkable. Wil Greenway is just such an artist. Not only is he arguably the nicest chap you’d ever hope to meet (and a man with a constantly changing beard), he’s also kind of unique. Not exactly a comedian, not quite a storyteller, he inhabits a world somewhere in between these two disciplines.

The Ocean After All is another of his delightful shaggy-dog tales, a simple story about a man who drives off a jetty, lands in a boat and drifts across the ocean until he finally finds himself marooned on a tiny island with nothing but seagulls and bananas for company – except, of course, it’s not about that at all. His stories feel like richly embroidered tapestries, where what’s described in those lyrical, sumptuous lines of his aren’t necessarily what meets the eye. Somehow, he always manages to pull together the various strands of his narrative and tie them up in a gloriously satisfying bow.

This year, he’s without his familiar onstage musician Will Galloway, who always seems to be such an integral part of his act. Kathryn Langshaw is still there with some atmospheric recorded music, but I have to admit, I miss the duo’s live contribution. Nevertheless, this is a delightful and engaging performance, and the two friends we bring along with us to see Wil for the first time are suitably enchanted. I feel almost jealous of them, remembering back to 2016 and The Way the City Ate the Stars, my own introduction to the charms of this Australian dreamweaver.

I write nice things about Greenway every year in the certain knowledge that he’ll remain oblivious to them. He told me, the first time we spoke, that he never reads his reviews. But, if you’re reading this, do yourself a favour. Grab a ticket for one of Wil Greenway’s last few shows before he heads back to Oz.

You won’t regret it.

4.6 stars

Philip Caveney 

Wil Greenway: Either Side of Everything


Underbelly Bristo Square, Edinburgh

Wil Greenway’s whimsical storytelling has been a Fringe highlight for us for the past few years, and his latest offering, Either Side of Everything, is just as beautifully crafted and delivered as his previous shows. Accompanied once again by folk musicians Kathryn Langshaw and Will Galloway, this is a gentle lullaby of a performance – but somehow it still manages to pack a punch.

The writing is lyrical and inventive; the delivery is charming. He’s such an appealing performer, all sparkling eyes and inclusivity, wrapping us up in his tales of love and loss. He lays his methods bare, shows us the mechanics: this is a metaphor; there will be four stories; you won’t understand how they connect until the end. We’re part of it – for an hour at least – our lives and his, this telling, this time. We’re all on the metaphorical boat together, not knowing where this fits in the narrative arcs of our own lives. But here, now, there is Greenway’s melodic prose, a gently strumming guitar, repeated refrains, and a surprising wealth of lol-moments.

There’s sadness in these accounts: dead dogs and grieving women, unspoken love and tender touch. But there’s humour too, and would-you-rathers, the silly stuff that keeps us all going. There’s real skill in the weaving of this show, and – somehow, as always – it leaves me with a profound sense of warmth and wellbeing. There is beauty in this world, even in the misery.

(I do miss his man-bun though. I don’t know why – but it’s true, I do.)

5 stars

Susan Singfield


Wil Greenway: These Trees the Autumn Leaves Alone


Underbelly Med Quad, Edinburgh

What is is about Australians and the art of storytelling?

Wil Greenway was one of our best discoveries at last year’s Fringe. This red-headed, bearded, vaguely hippie-ish guy presented a show called The Way the City Ate the Stars and we thought it was one of the most magical acts we’d ever seen. So of course we want to see him again! But the main question at the back of my mind is this: can he do it a second time? Can he honestly hope to reproduce the same levels of delight that he gave us last year? The answer to that, as it turns out, is a resounding yes. TTALA is every bit as good – maybe even better.

This year’s story is all about Ernie, a lonely guy in Melbourne, struggling with his weight, struggling with his loneliness, struggling to find a job. It’s about his lucky shirt, and a girl he met at a party years ago. It’s about a hungry cat and it’s about rain. Apparently, when it rains in Melbourne, it really rains…

If this doesn’t sound enticing, well, don’t be misled. The way Greenway tells a story is right up there with his compatriot, Sarah Kendall. He manages to weave this wonderful spell as he talks, aided and abetted by the marvellous vocals and guitar of his cohorts Kathryn Langshaw and Will Galloway, so that the most mundane things are made to sound quite beautiful (hell, in this show, Greenway describes a character throwing up and somehow manages to turn it into one of the most elegant pieces of prose I’ve ever heard).

This is wonderful stuff, powerful enough to transport you into the world of Greenway’s imagination, which let me assure, is a splendid place to pass an hour. If you see only one act by a red-headed, bearded, vaguely hippie-ish guy at this year’s Fringe, then this should be it.

5 stars

Philip Caveney

Edfest Bouquets 2016




It’s been another amazing August for us at Bouquets & Brickbats. We’re exhausted after a month of non-stop theatre and comedy! We have seen some absolutely fantastic stuff, covering a huge range of ideas. Here’s our pick of the best we’ve seen at this year’s Fringe:

Drama Bouquets

  1. Neontopia / Wales Millennium Centre – A Good Clean Heart by Alun Saunders
  2. Aurora Nova – The Blind Date Project by Bojana Novakovic
  3. Rainbow Class by Vivienne Acheampong
  4. Gaggle Babble / National Theatre Wales – Wonderman by Daf James
  5. Something for the Weekend – Royal Vauxhall by Desmond O’Connor

Monologue Bouquets

  1. NJC Productions – The Way the City Ate the Stars by Will Greenway
  2. George Dillon – Stunning the Punters (& Other Stories) by Berkoff, Sproat and Dostoevsky
  3. Lorenzo Novani – Cracked Tiles by Lorenzo Novani
  4. Impi Theatre Company – The South Afreakins by Robyn Paterson
  5. Berk’s Nest – Vaudeville by Tom Neenan

Stand-up Comedy Bouquets

  1. Bridget Christie – Mortal
  2. Sarah Kendall – Shaken 
  3. Loyiso Gola – Dude, Where’s My Lion?
  4. Garrett Millerick – The Dreams Stuff is Made Of
  5. John Robertson – Arena Spectacular

‘Ones to Watch Out For’ Bouquets

  1. Phosporos Theatre – Dear Home Office
  2. Chris Dugdale – Full Circle
  3. Flabbergast Theatre – Tatterdemalion
  4. Teateri – Evil by Jesper Arin
  5. Amy Howerska – Smashcat

Wil Greenway: The Way The City Ate The Stars



Underbelly, Med Quad, Edinburgh

What a curious and delightful confection this is – one of the most original productions we’ve seen at this year’s fringe. Wil Greenway’s show is a delightful blend of storytelling and music (the latter supplied by Will Galloway and Kathryn Langshaw). It’s set in Melbourne Australia and proves to be the perfect antidote for a cold, rainy afternoon in Edinburgh.

Greenway spins a magical yarn that blurs the lines between prose and poetry. It begins with a chance encounter between Greenway and Margaret, a mysterious woman he meets in a Melbourne bar. It then speeds effortlessly forward in time to the impending birth of Margaret’s child and there’s a series of coincidences that send three men speeding along the same remote road to an encounter with fate.

Greenway’s dazzling words and the haunting harmonies of his musical collaborators combine to create something quite extraordinary. The packed crowd at the event we attended would seem to suggest that good word of mouth about this show is already spreading fast. Our advice? Grab a ticket for this while you still can. Only those made of stone will be able to resist its charms.

5 stars

Philip Caveney