"My story is about love… No, it’s about loss… No, it’s about love and loss and pain and loneliness… But it’s funny!"
Calvin is going to completely revolutionise his life. Escape his abusive boyfriend, detonate his inner sex bomb, see (and shag) the world. Yes, he’s going to change things, and everything will be wonderful, and he’s going to be so happy. Definitely. Finally. Right?
After a mere 104 driving lessons with Thelma, his beleaguered instructor and a lapsed psychotherapist (who knows far more about Calvin and his kinks than she ever wanted to), Calvin has finally passed his test on the 12th attempt, and there’s officially no stopping him.
Now he’s found his partner in crime - the Cagney to his Lacey, the Celine Dion to his…Celine Dion - in the form of Wilf, a rusty Volkswagen Polo which, like Calvin, has seen better days. Together they hit the road on a wild and bumpy ride of dodgy Airbnbs, greasy takeaways, anonymous graveyard sex and banging 80s power ballads - ending up somewhere they never imagined they’d go.
But is Calvin breaking free, breaking down, or just breakdancing in hot pants?
This riotous and heartfelt new play from James Ley (Love Song to Lavender Menace), directed by the Traverse’s Artistic Director Gareth Nicholls (Ulster American, Crocodile Fever), takes audiences on a hilarious and unapologetic ride through Scotland as Calvin and Wilf attempt to escape loneliness, cope with mental illness and learn to love themselves, with the help of one another.
Strong language and adult themes throughout. Frequent graphic references to sex and drug use.
Audio Described - Fri 19 Aug, 4.30PM [describer is Myra Galletly]
BSL Interpreted - Fri 19 Aug, 4.30PM [interpreter Iain Hodgetts]
Image by Laurence Winram.
The Traverse Theatre is funded by Creative Scotland and The City of Edinburgh Council, and has received additional support from the Scottish Government's Performing Arts Venues Relief Fund and Creative Scotland’s Recovery Fund for Cultural Organisations.
WINNER: THE STAGE EDINBURGH AWARD FOR ACTING EXCELLENCE 2022 - Michael Dylan
★★★★★'Bizarre, sensational and weirdly loveable joyride’ - The Scotsman
★★★★★'A big, bold, bulging Fringe smash’ - ReviewsHub
★★★★★'You will have a ball' - British Theatre Guide
★★★★★'A hilarious, laugh-out loud romp’ - OnTheMic.com
★★★★ 'A fine, filthy and brilliantly-paced joyride' -The Scotsman
★★★★ 'A blast of feelgood cheer' - The Guardian
★★★★ 'Brutal, dark, hilarious' - The Stage
★★★★ 'Michael Dylan is incredibly endearing' - Fest Mag
★★★★ 'Calvin [is] embodied with remarkable vigour and deep compassion by Michael Dylan' - WhatsOnStage
★★★★ 'A wonderfully surreal comedy'- Financial Times
★★★★'I wasn't fully prepared for how far a man's love for his vehicle can go' - Broadway World
★★★★‘Gareth Nicholls brings colour, pizazz and darkness’ - Theatre Scotland
★★★★ 'Endlessly engaging to watch' - Scots Gay Arts
★★★★ 'Blisteringly energetic'- Arts Desk
'Its good nature proves entirely infectious ... highly engaging whatever the time of day, and very touching, too' The New York Times
Watch the trailer:
If you have access requirements, please contact our Sales and Welcome Team on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0131 228 1404 so we can arrange reserved seating for you and discuss how else we can best support your visit.
Wilf support resources
Donate to Traverse Theatre Today
A big, bold, bulging Fringe smash
- DirectorGareth Nicholls
- DesignerBecky Minto
- Lighting DesignerRenny Robertson
- Sound DesignerSusan Bear (she/her)
- Movement DirectorEmily Jane Boyle
- DramaturgEleanor White
Neil John Gibson
Behind the Scenes
Thoroughly loved Wilf @traversetheatre by the wonderful @jamesleyplay. It’s super funny, super queer, utterly filthy and simultaneously deals with abuse and mental health in a hugely warm and compassionate way. Go see! #edfringepic.twitter.com/8bKTHnnfQE— Nicola Osborne (@suchprettyeyes) August 7, 2022
The Traverse are also playing a blinder with Wilf. @gaznicholls works his usual magic on @jamesleyplay ‘s hilarious and touching script. The trio of performances are ace, spearheaded by the inimitable @TheMichaelDylan who is always a joy to watch. Strongly recommend!— Gary McNair (@TheGaryMcNair) August 12, 2022
Wilf at @traversetheatre is every bit as funny, tender, filthy, sad and uplifting as we were promised. @jamesleyplay has written something truly special and @TheMichaelDylan is nothing less than outstanding as post-break-up Calvin on a debauched road trip. GO SEE IT. 🌈— email@example.com (@MsAshleyDavies) December 10, 2021