Will Duggan: Ice Cube

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

Like all comedians, Will Duggan’s world collapsed last March. And with no Plan B – that 2:2 in archaeology not proving a golden ticket to riches – he took all manner of jobs to make ends meet.

In part, Ice Cube is a romp through all the places he’s worked, including a stint at the Dagenham car plant making ventilators, and a pre-comedy job teaching sex education, despite being ill-suited to the task. And the no-nonsense storytelling is fuelled by a powerful frustration, directed in all directions and none.

Anti-vaxxers get the opprobrium they deserve – an easy target, admittedly, but Duggan’s takedown is delivered, ironically, with needle-like precision. Meanwhile, working for Amazon brought home just how much corporate bad behaviour we overlook in the name of convenience.

But often he’s just vexed by the fragility of normality, illustrated by an extended metaphor about ancient Egyptians inventing ice cream. The allegory should melt quickly by rights, but Duggan persists in keeping it alive by the same force of personality that buoys all his stories.

He hits on some hot topics such as alleged cancel culture and toxic masculinity – which he portrays as an unlikely saviour. A ‘pull yourself together, man’ attitude stopping him from falling prey to his bleaker thoughts. ‘I’ve not dealt with it well,’ he deadpans after one rant. Even now, in this show, he often seems to kick back at slights he imagines or anticipates from a fickle world.

The longevity of some of his material might be open to question once lockdowns are in the rear-view mirror, although much could be repurposed, and it certainly resonates as the Fringe tentatively returns.

Ice Cube is the comeback gig he never knew he’d have to do: getting back on the horse and reminding himself – and audiences – that yes, he can do comedy.

Of course, he won’t want a three-and-a-half star review – he said as much often during some of his in-the-moment comments addressing the elephant (or critic) in the room. But what could signal the circuit’s return to normality more than a comic muttering ‘read like a four…’ about his write-up?

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Published: 29 Aug 2021


Past Shows

Edinburgh Fringe 2016

Will Duggan: A Man Gathering Fish

Edinburgh Fringe 2017

Will Duggan: Perspicuator

Edinburgh Fringe 2019

Will Duggan: Class Two

Edinburgh Fringe 2021

Will Duggan: Ice Cube

Edinburgh Fringe 2022

Will Duggan: Iceberg


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