Writer: Richard Marsh
Director: Justin Audibert
Reviewer: Rosanna Sloan
Written and performed by Richard Marsh, Wingman is a refreshingly honest, beautifully crafted spoken word comedy that grips the audience from start to finish.
We meet Richard as he is losing his mum to cancer and is forced to meet his disappointment of a father at his mother’s bedside. As his mother passes away, Richard and his father Len are forced together, until they choose to be together, through the ups and mostly downs of life. As Richard’s life starts to echo the failures of his father, he must come to terms with himself, his dad and ultimately learn forgiveness in order to embrace the new life he has ahead of him. This play is wonderfully written, incredibly engaging and artistically eloquent.
As the fourth wall comes up and down in this play, the audience are catapulted into the mind, life and times of Richard and his Dad, performed brilliantly by Jerome Wright. The rhythm, originality and content of the script offer a thought provoking and thoroughly engaging evening. Written in spoken word, the poetry of the script seamlessly takes the audience from Richard’s innermost thoughts to dialogue and back again. The structure and vocabulary add an extra layer, a comment on the comments that the characters are making to constantly surprise and delight the audience. Dealing with such difficult subject matters as cancer, grief, abandonment and unexpected parenthood, it is pleasing that Wingman is still a comedy at heart, offering a frank and uncensored glimpse into what life is really like.
No set, just two chairs is all that is needed to take the audience from funeral home to bathroom to hospital wing. Directed by Justin Audibert, the simple placement of bodies and chairs in space is all the audience needs to let their imagination fill in the blanks.
Both characters are insanely likeable, extremely watchable and fully rounded, as the full story starts to unravel. The actor’s performances are a credit to the director too, it is not easy to perform a play, let alone a partially rhyming play where rhythm and pace is everything, and both Wright and Marsh perform the twists and turns of the script with apparent ease.
The audience’s attention is held the entire time throughout this performance, often with baited breath to see the consequences of the character’s decisions, which is a true testament to the power that the story has. The way the script is written offers an insight into the personality of the characters, and the pace and structure of the performance keeps the audience always waiting excitedly to hear more.
This was the last performance in Wingman’s run Richard Marsh announced, but it is with sincere hope that it will be revived so that more audiences can soak up the experience this performance offers; it would be a shame for it to be confined to the pages of the script and not shared with others. However, if the opportunity to see this gem of a performance has passed you by, it may be wise to get your hands on a script.
Reviewed on 20th October 2014 | Photo by Robert Workman