Review: Wil Greenway: Either Side of Everything

Some sweet storytelling but not enough risks

comedy review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 11 Aug 2018
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Wil Greenway

Do you ever find yourself willing someone to do something, anything, a bit naughty? Sure, that's not the only imaginative spring that's sprung during a Wil Greenway show. He's fantastically, sweetly inventive; a proper creator of wonderful worlds. But it's always there, an itch that's never scratched.

Greenway's stock-in-trade is gentle storytelling, punctuated with pretty songs (pitch perfect by Kathryn Langshaw and Will Galloway). He does this beautifully, in an unhurried style that allows him to weave multiple narratives, moving each along just a little before tracking back. When he does, there's a little refrain that puts us back in the picture without sacrificing any of the atmosphere he's worked to build. It's the way he builds emotional punch, bit by bit tightening his grip on these disparate threads, drawing them together into a tapestry.

There's a running theme about stories being an eternity for the people in them, but may just be one of millions of beginnings, middles and ends in the stories of others. But, in truth, the content is less important than the form here. The same goes for Greenway's meticulously crafted language. His long adjective phrases wash over comfortably, but scratch the surface and the illusion is rumbled. Repetition is key ("we're here in a theatre; that's where we are"), as are slightly empty phrases ("making something of nothing, making everything of nothing") which feel profound when delivered with wide-eyed wonder by the big-bearded Australian, but are dead on paper. Greenway is such a talented performer that he could risk challenging his audience a bit more, unsettling them, giving them more to chew on. It feels like he's a bit afraid of the dark.