views from the gods

saints and sinners of the stage and screen

Full of Win
The Camden Head
28th July 2014


Richard Wright

Photography provided by Richard Wright

Who doesn't love an underdog? Everyone, that's who, according to single comedian Richard Wright. The concept of his first solo comedy show, Full of Win, is nothing if not optimistic. However, there is a dangerously thin line between endearing and amateur, and Wright spends the hour straddling this line precariously.

As a 30-something geek living at home with his parents (he claims he's not clever enough to be a nerd), Wright knows he has an uphill struggle to win friends and influence people. Full of Win is the loose narrative of a man who desperately wants to love and to be admired, who may be an invented character, or as we suspect, not too far-removed from the comedian himself. The jokes are rather mainstream with references to Star Wars and the trauma the younger generation faced from Jar Jar Binks, as well as the correlation between Middle Eastern wars and the resurgence of the Batman franchise.

Full of Win could have become an interesting study in comedy's ability to turn tragedy around, there's a glimmer of a good idea there. Unfortunately, too many of the stories and anecdotes rely on quirkiness and some are even left unfinished and with no real message, sense of continuity or even punchline. Unlike other popular geek personae, Wright sadly doesn't have the redemptive features or bravado to overpower the embarrassing stereotype he paints for himself.

Opening night is always tough, especially when you know you've got a critic in the room, but an inconsistent and interrupted start left the audience somewhat lost as to what to expect, creating awkwardness. Wright seemed unsure of his own material, stalling for time with his drink, searching for the right music on his laptop and one point, resorting to checking his pocket book for the running order of the show. Sometimes this sort of chaos is scripted, or real and yet forgiveable, but here, it just felt like Wright was floundering and that wasn't a whole lot of fun to watch.

Richard Wright

Photography provided by Richard Wright

An hour of a nerdy comic cracking jokes about the pathetic nature of his life can make for a very funny evening - jump in a TARDIS, go back a year, and see Pete Dillon-Trenchard's It's All Geek to Me in exactly the same spot. However, Wright's material isn't as polished and he needs to work harder to bring his audience on side a lot quicker, engaging with them from the very beginning and building goodwill. When you own the room, there is so much you can get away with. There are some successful jokes in the show, and these do rely on real and quite clever wit. It's just a shame that they are so infrequent.

This isn't the first outing of Wright's début piece and with Brighton and Camden behind him, hopefully he now has enough feedback to redevelop Full of Win into something, well, a little bit more full of win. With a sharper script, Wright's confidence and stage presence will only grow. We're rooting for him, Wright has a better show in him to give, but as it stands, Full of Win is a little empty.

Full of Win opened on 28th July and runs until 31st July 2014 at the Camden Head, as part of the Camden Fringe.

Nearest tube station: Camden Town (Northern)

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