Ryan Lane @ Heroes, Dragonfly
Ryan Lane's well-observed characters and clever writing make for an inventive retelling of life in small town Wales
Mythical figures trapped in towers, manic tour guides and defiant rugby coaches – what could these all have in common? Ah yes, Wales. Ryan Lane brings us on a journey through his Welsh heritage, all without barely being present himself. Instead, he treats us to a series of fantastically strange characters, well observed from his upbringing in Llanidloes, a small Mid-Wales market town. For anyone who’s experienced small town life, the characters really ring true. For those who haven’t, their bizarreness will do more than enough to placate your comedic appetite.
Lane really embraces these personas, pushing their flaws and eccentricities for strong comedic effect. His audience interaction whilst in character provides a great dynamism to the personalities that he has created. Throughout, a character occasionally refers to an audience member as Ryan, bringing an autobiographical context to the characters and making them feel fully three-dimensional. As more appear and this style continues, it becomes an interesting device to give the audience a sense of Lane and his background; despite the fact that Lane himself is hardly ever out of character. A few of the later characters don’t work as well, and whilst they do further the autobiographical narrative that builds, they are shorter on laughs.
Ryan Lane does strange beautifully, and the well-observed characters and clever writing make for an inventive retelling of his background in what is a funny and engaging hour.
Ryan Lane Will Be There Now in a Minute, Heroes @ Dragonfly, until 25 Aug, 4.40pm, £5/PWYW