INTERVIEW: THEATRE SHOW OF THE WEEK – Osric Omand and The Story of Hope, The Drayton Arms Theatre

This weeks show of the week is a horror action comedy that is happening at The Drayton Arms Theatre in Old Brompton Road between the dates of 13th – 17th February. Tickets are £5 and the show starts at 7:30pm. I sat down with Joseph Emms, the Director and Writer of Osric Omand to find out more about the show and the comedy troupe behind it – 21st Century Cox.

Hello Joe! Tell us a little bit about yoursef?

I’m ex-redcoat, failed wrestler, turned actor whose clung to life by a love of Star Wars, next!

So first things first – who is Osric Omand? What adventures has been up to before?

Osric Omand is a man who believes in a world where monsters and humans can coexist in harmony, so he’s built an Institute to keep monsters safe from the outside world. And boy has he been on adventures, from rescuing Golems from Nazi Germany to battling the forces of the Vampirical Order. Most recently however was his skirmish with a group of extremist transexual robots, but you’ll have to wait until the show to hear more about that topic.

Your new show is called Osric Omand and The Story of Hope, what is it about?

So (trailer voice), the Institute has suffered an outbreak. Osric is having bad dreams. And Lord Sarcor of the Vampirical Order has returned. Is it all connected? With an explosive cocktail of stage combat, live music and impractical effects on a shoestring budget, Osric Omand and The Story of Hope promises to be the stage blockbuster of the year.

Screen Shot 2018-01-12 at 13.55.42

How did you come up with the idea of Osric – how did you create such a unique character?

It was during the New Forest Film Festival all the way in 2011, I had to guide a group of cult film fans through a haunted wood at night (the wood was named Sandy Balls may I add) and that’s when I came up with the idea of Osric Omand, with the help of my director Simon Miller. I had always been good at playing awkward, jittery, inventor and over the years of playing and piecing together, I think it’s safe to say Osric has become a much more rounded character.

Tell us about the writing process / how do you come up with story ideas?

Usually I take themes from classic literature and give them a twist or comic vibe, for instance this show draws upon Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. A lot of the time whilst writing I act out the scenes in my head or when I’m home alone or even when I’m walking down the street. I get some odd looks, it’s fantastic. I imagine what they would look like in a film, then I transfer them to stage. Listening to music also helps create scenes. I also carry a notepad, should an idea come to be.

You are also part of the comedy troupe 21st Century Cox – how did you form?

I wanted to make a company or troupe that certainly had a niche. A lot of actors come out of drama school, make a theatre company with a ‘safe’ name and put on a profit share Shakespeare show. Of course there’s nothing wrong with this at all, and I have been apart of a few and had a great time, but it wasn’t what I wanted to create. At first I tried to call the company the Festering Fits, in reference to a Monty Python quote but was warned by a producer not to. I then went with The Quills of Change when I went through my ‘I want to change the world’ phase in my early twenties. Then I found a name that represented what I wanted to create, and a name that could certainly catch someones attention and that was of course 21st Century Cox.

It says that you bring a movie blockbuster feel to the stage – how do you make this happen?

I could make a long list here and say with raw stage combat, multimedia, easter eggs/film references and practical effects, but the main way will be through my love of film. It’s the medium I grew up surrounded by and the reason I’m an actor.

What do you have planned for the rest of 2018 if people want to see either Osric or a show by 21st Century Cox?

Well I really want to take this show further, let’s see how it does first at the Drayton Arms. Of course Edinburgh Fringe would be the goal, there’s Camden fringe too, who knows?

#Finally in 3 words

It’s bloody cheap!

QUICK FIRE ROUND Screen Shot 2018-01-12 at 13.55.13

Favourite Sitcom?

The Office

Favrouite Comedian?

Eddie Izzard

Favourite comedy show you have seen on the stage?

Moby Dick by Spymonkey

What was the last thing you liked on Social Media?

I never like anything, I share, liking really doesn’t do anything. Sharing does.

What would your autobiography be called?

This is it! I’ve made it..oh, no, no I haven’t (repeats).

What is your favourite joke?

The haircut my barber just gave me.

What actors would you love to collaborate with if you had the choice?

The cast/writers of the Horrible Histories TV show, them!

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