I had an imaginary friend growing up. His name was Mike, and generally he just served as an audience member for me, to perform to, or to be impressed by my football skills, or whatever. Until seeing Will Duggan’s Class Two, he hadn’t really crossed my mind, outwith the odd embarrassing story from my mum, in about fifteen years. Duggan’s relationship with his childhood imaginary friends is somewhat different.
The premise of the show is to wonder what his four (FOUR!) imaginary friends would be up to today, had he kept them about, and what they would think about his escapades. This seems like an interesting and Fringe-worthy enough concept, but the storytelling nature of the beast means there are never enough big belly laughs to make up for the strange nature of the show. Instead, the hour just rolls along comfortably enough, with regular waves of polite laughter and chuckles, but never any stand out moments.
His anecdotal material, encompassing such well-worn comedy premises as an incident going through airport security, are decent enough but never seem to get out of second gear. You keep waiting for the next level, but it rarely comes. This is not to say the show is not enjoyable, Duggan himself is a comfortable and engaging enough performer, and never does the show drag, it just feels like the potential isn’t reached. The themes of morality and mental health appear, but again seem to be examined only on a surface level, providing some wry observations and laughs, but compared to the level of analysis seen in other shows at this festival aren’t cutting enough.
It is an odd thing to describe a show that includes stories about inciting racial hatred and a mental breakdown as gentle, but that almost what it becomes. A perfectly enjoyable hour, that never quite reaches the next level.
Will Duggan runs until the 26th of August – buy tickets here.