It is August which only means one thing – it is Camden Fringe time! Over the next few weeks we are chatting to acts that are performing at the festival and finding all about their show and what they would call this years iconic Camden Fringe Pigeon! Today we speak to Nigel Osner about Still Ticking!
Date: 12th, 13th, 14th August
Price: £12 Concessions £10
Location: Etcetera Theatre
Hello! Tell us about yourself?
Once a practising barrister, then employed at the Ministry of Justice, I am now a performer, actor, lyricist and writer. For my show ‘Angel to vampire!’ I was nominated for excellence in new writing by the Buxton Fringe. My show ‘Too young to stay in, too old to go out!’ has been at the Edinburgh and other Fringes, with an accompanying podcast (Spotify etc), where I speak to people like Alison Steadman and Dillie Keane. I have acted in films and on stage. I am the author of ‘Magic in Ravenswood’ (Heinemann) which I adapted into a family musical with music by BB Cooper, premiered in London in 2002/3. My fantasy novel ‘worldoflegends.com’ is available on Amazon etc.
How did you come up with the name of your show that your taking to the Camden fringe?
In January 2021 I nearly died when a routine operation went seriously wrong, leading to my heart stopping, up to forty minutes manual compression and then open heart surgery and a damaged lung. I survived, to the surprise of many people! In the summer of 2021 I began to perform again. My recovery was completed following further heart surgery. I put together this new show, ‘Still ticking!’, at the start of 2022. In view of my recent medical history, the title seems rather appropriate!
Tell us a little bit about your style of show?
I like to tell stories through character based cabaret. There are of course character comedians, but perhaps fewer performers who also tell their stories through song. For those who remember, this is something which Joyce Grenfell did. I talk to the audience then illustrate what I’m saying, either directly or unexpectedly, with a song or a monologue. I write the lyrics and monologues. Occasionally I come up with a melody, which I hum to a patient arranger, who turns it into a proper tune.
What will your set be about?
First it’s about my efforts to get my lyrics, writing or even me on the stage. These are very much ongoing! I’ll be looking back over my material, some of which I have never performed before. Also there’ll be some new material which reflects current preoccupations. All this merges with the other theme – getting older. This has its obvious challenges but, on the plus side, people, including me, can become more comfortable with themselves. I illustrate my story with my original songs and monologues by male and female characters, including a jaded rock star; a woman who has given up men; the man who hates being labelled; the person who is told they can have no more botox; and an ancient vampire who has lost the taste for blood. The show aims to amuse but has some bitter sweet moments, for 25 years means getting a lot older!
What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at the fringe?
Julie the Musical at Upstairs in the Gatehouse
Cosi Fan Tutte/Love Me Out – The Opera at Upstairs in the Gatehouse
What advice would you give to others who want to perform at Camden Fringe next year?
First, check that you have the venue that really suits your show. I am pleased to return to the Etcetera theatre, as the space a good size for cabaret and the team is very supportive. Second, if you live in London and are doubtful about performing in the Fringe, don’t be. There will be a much smaller financial risk compared to visiting a Fringe where you have to pay for accommodation and, if Edinburgh, ideally play for the whole three weeks in order to get the best venue and space available. Third, you can never do too much promotion.
What are your favourite things about London?
Theatre, galleries, the parks, the huge scale and variety of everything on offer, so that you cannot outgrow the city.
What are your three favourite things about Camden?
I still like the market. I like the music venues, though my favourite, previously the Monarch, no longer has live performance. There is an eclectic mix of cafes and restaurants.
Favourite one liner you have done in a show and why?
In a monologue about a gardener ‘I am literally salivating about her summer bedding.’
Who would be your ultimate dream audience member?
Someone who laughs at all the right places and has such an infectious laugh that s/he makes others laugh too. I have had such audience members on occasion. Of course, alternatively, the person who loves my show so much that they want to put on a production in the West End!
The iconic image of the Camden Fringe is the Pigeon – if you could call this years pigeon a name to represent its style what would it be and why?
Pigene Kelly – well we all have our off days!
If people want to find out more about you where can they follow you on social media?
And especially my website http://nigelosner.com/
And Finally in three words – Why should people come and see the show?
Entertaining original imaginative