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Oh – Fringe 2009

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Steve Bennett

There’s a distinct and unique voice coming through in this quirky sketch show – even if that voice does start to get very irritating even in its brief 40-minute running time.

Young Tiani Ghosh has an inventively offbeat way with language, with blunt non-sequiturs, convoluted mishearings and torturously cross-purpose dialogue producing a disjointed script that trips you up on almost every line.

She performs it with an otherworldly air, too: delivering many lines with her fist to her mouth, in half-expectation of the embarrassment almost sure to follow; while at other times she reaches out awkwardly to rest her hand lightly but uncomfortably on co-star Raph Shirley. All stupidly disconcerting.

Plenty of the wordplay is ridiculously silly, if only because of the extreme lengths to which Ghosh will go to engineer her impossible misunderstandings. These are extravagant puns, stretching the English language’s flexibility to near breaking point.

The problem is, this is the only kind of joke she can write. Which makes for a limited show. And the situations are similarly very restricted to mundane two-handed dialogues such as job interviews, a husband coming late for work, or doing the crossword together, where there’s obvious scope for conflict and misunderstanding.

So with few variations on the joke and the setting, it’s not too long before you get restless. But that shouldn’t detract from the fact that Ghosh has an evident and inimitable talent and huge potential for something greater. But maybe she should team up with a writer who can provide context for her peculiar gags, and more variety in their telling.

Review date: 31 Aug 2009
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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