Last time Richard Marsh was on the Fringe, he and Katie Bonna were injecting the romcom with poetry and filth in Dirty Great Love Story. Now, the performance poet and playwright has progressed from romance to parenthood, returning with a new show that looks at what it means to be both a father and a son.
The fictionalised Richard of Wingman is a romantically unlucky thirty-something coming to terms with his mother's death. Grieving would be a whole lot easier, however, if his estranged father wasn't suddenly back on the scene. At the same time as fending off his own needy parent, Richard discovers that he too is about to become a father following a staff party tryst in the disabled loo. Can he be responsible and avoid making the same mistakes as his dad?
Marsh tells this story with a little help from fellow performer Jerome Wright as Richard's doggedly persistent father. They are set up as something of a double act without ever fully fulfilling that promise; the laughs are gentle rather than shoulder shaking. Marsh's language, however, is as evocative as it has ever been, sketching vivid scenes with a few carefully selected phrases and capturing with pinpoint accuracy the agony of everyday embarrassment and awkwardness.
The essential ingredients of Wingman bear much resemblance to the winning recipe of Dirty Great Love Story: comedy, poetry, lightly dysfunctional human relationships. And the taste is still undeniably sweet, but there is something of the flavour of that previous show missing here.