You know that one friend, who can hold the whole room with one of their stories, who’s the first to laugh at themselves and who makes fun of you, but, sort of in a validating way? Imagine if you gave that friend a stage, a soundtrack, and an uninterrupted hour of your time. That was FOMO.
The Corpus Playroom lends itself to a certain amount of intimacy with the audience, and Will Owen exploited this to full effect, constantly joking with the audience and making you feel like an honoured confidante. Honoured might not be the exact word chosen by the people he pulled from the audience to engage in his madcap dance routines, but his diva tyranny to these participants was perfectly pitched to his persona, and always had the audience (and the people themselves) in hysterics.
This sort of thing is to be expected from a one man show, but Will didn’t fall into many of the traps which you also might expect from the format – he leaned more towards an exuberant stand-up routine than the slow introspective which often characterises the genre. If FOMO was self-indulgent then it was gloriously so, using personal stories to explore and poke fun at ideas of sexuality and coming of age.
Given the subject matter, you won’t be surprised to hear that the script was a bit dirty. By which I mean, incredibly dirty. But there was an impressive range of content: Will’s references jumped from Tinder to Philip Larkin, via Madonna and Call Me By Your Name.
The comedy was no less varied, with observational jokes about heteronormative sex education in schools, combining with quick facial expressions and sarcastic asides. And if there happened to be a lot of cocks in FOMO, more important was that there was a lot of heart. Will had an important message about what it’s like to be afraid of missing out, about how to make sure that you don’t, and how to have fun doing it.
If you had FOMO about this performance, unfortunately your fears have been realised, because Will got a standing ovation, and it was for one night only. But if you like a glitzy good time, knowing looks and plenty of laughs, then keep an eye out for Will Owen around Cambridge theatre and, I’m confident to say, beyond.
I’ll leave you with the sage advice of Will himself: dance like nobody’s watching – even if you hope they are.