So listen London, we need to talk about erections. It's time we had that talk. Here's the skinny on hard-ons: they are, by their very nature, binary. Unless complexly injured, you've got your two main choices: a shower or a grower. Showers are brash, out-there erections — a straightforward, no-nonsense Yorkshireman of a dick. Growers, on the other hand, are more subtle, lumbering into tumescence like a glacier melting. (Both are completely legitimate types of erections fellas, and don't you let anybody tell you otherwise.) Anyway, Nathan Dean Williams is the latter kind.
Are we saying Nathan Dean Williams is a walking hard-on? We are not saying Nathan Dean Williams is a walking hard-on. But his stage show, The Buffet — which sees him take to the stage in six guises, each delivering a black-as-treacle comic monologue — does take a while to warm up.
Now, The Buffet is not a laugh-a-minute show. Instead, the six characters — a sad clown, a feeder's housewife, a kidnapped rabbit, a henpecked husband, a serial pet lover and a doomed teacher — are reliant on some very sharp, dark writing and a solid delivery from Williams himself. It's all a bit League of Gentlemen by way of Alan Bennett, and by the end of the show it really works.
It's just that slow start [please refer back to the erection analogy]. Going in cold [no longer an erection analogy], the audience is confronted by a freelance clown with a shonky Welsh accent. Some people got it — so much so that we legitimately thought a guffawing audience member might be a stooge — but at first it felt a little too 'actor doing some acting' than 'dark comic doing jokes'. At some point — precisely, for reference, the moment Williams' took to the stage dressed as a sex pest version of Velma from Scooby Doo — it clicked. We got it. It was brilliant. He 'grew'. If you're planning a visit, expect slow, dark pacing, and the impulse to stand proud and applaud by the end.
Nathan Dean Williams can be seen at Soho Theatre 11-12 May. Tickets here.