The Richard Osman Fan Club

Aug 11 2022 | By More

★★★★☆     Pointless entertainment

Paradise at The Vault (Venue 29): Sat 6 – Sun 28 Aug 2022
Review by Tom Ralphs

The Richard Osman Fan Club, at Paradise at the Vault on Merchant Street, takes its lead from Osman’s new career as a cosy crime writer rather than his old one as Pointless co-host.

Set around a bench in a park this short play a light-hearted two header with a dark undercurrent, as the elderly Greta enlists the help of a young man called Adam to help her write her first piece of crime fiction.

Publicity shot for the Richard Osman Fan Club

Wendy Lap’s script has all the hallmarks of classic old school fringe. The kind of show that’s perfectly suited to its venue, that will effortlessly allow you to pass 30 minutes of your time, and leave you with a smile on your face before tackling anything more serious or anyone more famous.

Greta, played by Eliza Langland, appears to be a dotty old lady with an obsession with Osman and crime fiction. As she meets Adam (Steven Finley), she tells him of her plans to launch her own crime fiction rival to The Thursday Murder Club.

The fact that she’s called it The Sunday Serial Killer Society suggests that originality isn’t necessarily her strongpoint, as Adam is quick to note.

tiny details

Greta’s costume, including a coat with a £3.99 label on display, adds to the feeling that she is not someone likely to trouble the Times Bestsellers list. It is an example of the tiny details that the self-directed cast have added to the production to create the right atmosphere.

Langland clearly relishes the role, playing up Greta’s quirks as she pretends to pass out to get Adam to return and as she notes the similarities between herself and Osman. Her sense of outrage when Adam refers to him as Richard Osmond is another small detail that adds so much more to the world of the story.

Finley also embraces Adam with open arms, mixing his annoyance at the disruption that Greta brings to his day with the sense of obligation that, as she appears to be a lonely old woman, he can’t just leave her.

It is of course only the appearance of loneliness. Greta is not as lonely or as scatter-brained as she seems to be.

There are an endless questions about the storyline’s plausibility, but to raise them would miss the essential point of the show. It is entertaining, it is throwaway, and it’s not meant to be scrutinised too closely. On all of these levels, it is an excellent way to spend a small part of your time.

Running time: 30 minutes (no interval)
Paradise in the Vault (The Vault) 11 Merchant Street, EH1 2QD (Venue 29)
Saturday 6 to Sunday 28 August 2022 (not 14th or 21st)
Daily: 17.15
Tickets and detail: Book here.


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