The premise for Will Penswicks’ show is simple. Imagine the world’s most deluded poet, no doubt encouraged by his well meaning Granny, and a car wreck candidate at a Britain’s Got Talent audition and give them their own show. It works and it works well.
Laugh out loud funny
Will is already on stage as the room fills, apparently asleep. Audience interaction is almost instantaneous as he wakes up and ineptly propositions an attendee. Words tumble headlong from Will’s mouth. Obliquely connected, rhymes contrived and convoluted, the subjects bizarre, but the nonsense poems created are clever and humorous. But it’s the interruptions that bring the performance together. He creates a running commentary to his own show. A device that shows his character’s conceit, halting the poems stuttering flow to clarify or merely regroup before plunging back in. It could easily be tedious but we are seduced. We are invited to laugh with him and at him at the same time. It’s embarrassment humour without the cringe - no need to peek through fingertips. He interacts with almost everyone in the room (ok, not that hard today) as the blazing Bank Holiday weather has discouraged the masses, there are less than a dozen of us. When any of us are put in the spotlight a gentle teasing ensues, quickly turned around, with a shrug or a snort, to once again make himself the butt of the joke.
The poetry is the theme that gives the performance its raison d’etre but it’s the intrusions of his commentary, of audience participation and a series of highly contrived one-liners of dubious wit and wisdom that draw laughs and groans from us all. The topics for abuse centre on himself, an imaginary dissolute Tim Henman and the recent royal wedding. Many of the poems have a recurring theme. To me these mini tag lines feel like the leverage of the first successful joke at a relaxed dinner party which is returned to throughout the evening - it invites everyone to be an insider as well as being in on the joke. It’s intimate, we are no longer an audience but a gang. The treatment of these themes is so outlandish that no one could take offence, even Tim and the royal couple.
This is a lovely gentle show. The only jarring note is the unnecessary love hate relationship with a French maitre d’ penguin, not quite as bizarre as it’s sounds in the context of Will’s universe. Laugh out loud funny with many pleasing whimpers of approval throughout. Keep listening to all the encouragement of well meaning friends and relatives. Will has Got Talent.