William Andrews: Willy
Reviewed – 11th April 2019
“deft comedic timing and skilful showmanship”
Upon entering the theatre, we’re greeted by a puppy-like forty-year old man eagerly giving out badges and wearing a ‘Hovis’ bread bag on his head with a little straw poking out like a Britney mic. It’s certainly a confident start, but one can’t help wondering if he’s regretting quite how tight the bread bag is…
We begin with what is either painstakingly rehearsed or completely off-the-cuff rambling, hopping frenetically between subjects, each story or thought almost always followed by the slightly manically delivered parenthesis, ‘Is it worth sharing? I don’t know.’
As he excitedly paces back and forth, William Andrews repeatedly forgets to take the mic with him, and often as he grabs for it, accidentally unplugs it – again, hard to tell if this is an orchestrated laugh, or whether the microphone is actually broken.
Andrews does finally land on a kind of narrative, but whilst the topics remain in orbit of his own quiet family life, his dealings with them combine both the profound and the ridiculous, often in one breath. We follow him on a Dave Gorman-esque single-minded hunt for a late-night tv clip of a dog on a motorway, for example, and along the way we’re considering the struggles of gender dysmorphia; we’re both laughing and staring agape (if it’s possible to do the two simultaneously) as we hear Andrews discuss his first brush with adulthood at eight years old when he attempted (‘attempted’ being the horrifying aspect here) to kill a fish.
What becomes apparent is how deceptively haphazard this show is. Hamish MacDougall’s direction sees Andrews lean in to the idea of a jabbering amateur ‘giving it a go’ whilst actually showcasing deft comedic timing and skilful showmanship. His attempt to bring it all neatly together in the last five minutes, as though he had been telling one hour-long story, doesn’t quite work, but it doesn’t matter. Balancing frivolity and gravity in equal measure, he has created a very funny and artfully executed performance.
Reviewed by Miriam Sallon
Photography by William Andrews
William Andrews: Willy
Soho Theatre until 13th April
Last ten shows reviewed at this venue: