What’s a recently-dumped man who works at a Harvester and lives with his parents going to do with his life? The answer shouldn’t really be “plan world domination”, but that’s not stopping Funz and Gamez man Will Duggan in this solo show. He reckons he’s got what it takes. He checks with the audience at the beginning to see who agrees, and then, having given us a peek into his life and his mind, again at the end. The results, no surprise to him, are much the same – not many.
Duggan actually comes across as neither the sad sack his predicament suggests, nor a Leader of the Free World in waiting. There’s an anecdote here about him going for a pint with some mates after a five-a-side match, which seems in keeping with the bloke we have in front of us. He’s an affable chap, relaxed with his audience. It’s just his misfortune to be from Kettering, not just for the obvious “crap town” reasons he mines fairly successfully here, but because of the equally obvious “you’re not even the funniest man in Kettering” heckles he’ll have to endure because of James Acaster. At least it’s given him an accent we all now associate with Fringe funnymen.
Duggan’s pitch for our vote is willfully lacklustre. He drops in a few manifesto promises – free dogs, anyone? – and confesses things from his back story so they don’t return to haunt him. They’re so mild – some accidental racism, vague homophobia – it’s hard to extract much humour from them, but they add to the sense of a decent bloke trapped in a rut of minor inconveniences. But it’s not just circumstances, other people are are also stopping him taking over the universe, whether it’s his mum still setting his bedtime, or a colleague who persists in one upmanship.
Crap job and parental home – it’s par for the course for anyone under-35 these days. So there’s nothing surprising in Duggan’s set, but it’s not a bad study in provincial English boredom.