Will Rowland: Cocoon

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Free Fringe @ Bar Bados Complex
Aug 21-24 (13:30)

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After seeing Will Rowland in a sketch show called Crizards last year, I thought I’d bob along to his debut full show at Bar Bados. I like his dreamcatcher presence in a room. Unfortunately on the day I went a pipe had burst or something & the whole venue had been shut down. Not to be deterred, I made my way back the next lunchtime & settled myself before him. It was a great start, with Will spraying fabreeze into the room via a strategically-placed fan to counteract any smells from the previous day’s sewage.

So to Cocoon, Will’s aptly-titled name for his debut. I say apt, because Will is very much a work in progress, not quite hatched but definitively alive & throbbing with energy. He has a rather blase approach to his set, an easy-going drollness that spends half his time, at least in the early stages, looking down on his own role as a performer from a punter’s point of view. A comedian’s comedian.

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Will in his Lewis Carrolesque section

Will is a beamer, he’s always on the edge of smiling & I enjoy comedians who laugh at their own jokes in the unpretentious manner. As we watch him at work, his face is an enthrallingly rolling watch, its like a tractor beam that keeps pulling you in & focused on the comedy. He is also the least invidious comedian I have ever seen. The set he presents is a wee tour de force around his family; dad’s there, mum pops up & I’d love to meet his granny, who refuses to laugh at his jokes or approve of his career choice. I’d tell her, ‘look love, be proud, the guy’s good!’

The one problem with Will is that if you lose your own focus for a second, you step off his train & its difficult to get back on again. He just needs to learn how to work a room better, tho’ to be honest the Bar Bados experience is tricky, with him having to compete with two nosiy shows on each side of him, including a very noisy bunch of Icelanders hunting for trolls (or something). I would prefer to have seen Will in a different room where I could enjoy the ride undisturbed from start to finish & allow his slick cerebrality to infest my laughter-spheres.

Damian Beeson Bullen

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