Review: Butter Fingers

Butter Fingers is a brand new whirlwind of a one man play. But before we move on to the play, let’s talk about the man behind it: Will Burns. Writing a play is a challenge, writing a good play is difficult, but writing a great play and starring in it yourself – and performing it so magnificently – well, it’s something to be inspired by, that’s for sure.

There’s something about Will’s performance that makes you really feel as though you’re witnessing the start of a very special career. Whether we see him pen an award-winning stage show, become a household acting name or witness his name up in lights Live at the Apollo, there’s no doubt in my mind Will Burns is going to take the world by storm somehow – I’m just excited to see what direction he chooses.

Butter Fingers falls somewhere between one man play and stand up comedy routine, but it’s the glimpses of Will’s cheeky personality that arrive ad-hoc and moments of dry humour that stand out for me. Will is at his absolute best when he’s being himself, going a little off-piste and engaging with the crowd. And, boy, are the crowd behind him. The audience becomes a collective of friends in the space of an hour as Will’s effortless likeability draws us all into the action. I’ve never seen a standing ovation quite like it, and it couldn’t be more well deserved.

I’m going to be bold here and say Will’s talent goes beyond his writing. Though the play and its premise is fun, interesting and keeps the audience engrossed in its delightfully quirky twists and turns, it’s Will Burns himself and the sheer presence of his performance that makes Butter Fingers so enjoyable.

Butter Fingers tells the story of a twenty-something man who’s just been dumped by his girlfriend for sitting on her guinea pig. Can he convince his ex that he’s dating his idol, Kate Bush? And will that provoke enough jealousy to win her back? Well, you’ll just have to see the show to find out.

I’ll be honest, anyone who knows me knows that weird and wonderful concepts aren’t generally my kind of thing – but for this play I’ll totally make an exception. I laughed from start to finish and absolutely loved it.

It’s a mad premise but the offbeat nature of the play makes it a completely different kind of night out. Butter Fingers is eccentric and a little bit lost in the world but we root for him to find his path to happiness. He’s different to the rest, and he likes it that way. It’s refreshing to see such a bold character embrace every quirk and quality that makes them stand out, without the need of a boring character arc in which the underdog embraces their uniqueness over time. Butter Fingers is who he is from the moment we meet him, helping the audience instantly be welcomed into his world.

I can’t wait to see this show head up to Edinburgh for the Fringe. Not just because Butter Fingers is great (although it is), but because in Will Burns the theatre world has found itself a rare diamond of a performer.

Comparable to some of the leading names in stand-up comedy, from the moment Will walks on stage he brings with him an at-ease confidence blended with a unique self-effacing humbleness. It’s so bloody hard to be funny, and it’s something I truly don’t believe can be taught. Will has developed his own brand of comedy here, and it’s a stage personality that I believe can see him find great success on the comedy circuit with the right material behind him. Butter Fingers is the thrilling debut of a fresh new talent who’s going to go on to do great things. I just wish I’d got my programme signed!

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