The Naz Show | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review by Paul Fleckney
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The Naz Show

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review by Paul Fleckney

Naz Osmanoglu isn’t himself this year. Literally – he’s doing a character show. But also, he seems a frustrated man. His room wasn’t the one he wanted, 2.45pm wasn’t the time slot he wanted, and he feels his career is on the slide. 

Add to that some underlying angst about all his friends getting hitched and producing babies like Southampton FC produces excellent wing-backs, and you have a comic who is fighting to keep his show buoyant. 

It seems unusual for him: he’s normally all bravado; the confident alpha of sketch group WitTank. If last year’s show revealed him to be a slightly tortured soul who can still put together a solid comedy show, then this year is a step backward on a few fronts. 

As the title suggests, The Naz Show is variety: 60 minutes of characters and solo skits. There are moments when it threatens to break out into being an energetic high-octane show. But mainly it’s scratchy and flawed, and I wonder even if Osmanoglu is convinced by it. 

The problems start with the fact the show has two de facto hosts – Naz himself, and an Australian stage manager. This means a bumpy landing any time he comes out of a character. I would lose the Aussie altogether. 

The characters too are hit and miss. Like Adam Riches, Osmanoglu defaults to ‘flawed macho man’, and this is what we get with his first creation, Antonio, an Italian lover. Antonio’s thing is to give dubious seduction advice – a fun enough idea, but one that’s almost certainly been done better elsewhere. A little more enjoyable was the Scandinavian detective, who suffers the real-life consequences of all the twists and turns that happen in The Killing, The Bridge et al. 

Later on, Osmanoglu reprises the sketch, but from the point of view of an American detective who’s starring in the dumbed-down, mainstream version of the same crime shows. This time it’s the script and lack of observational nous that lets the sketch down. 

The show was immediately lifted by Osmanoglu’s bizarre piss-take of Shania Twain, of all people. Yes, he takes too much time to get to the point of exactly why we’re watching a man pretend to be the unit-shifting country star, and it is a one-joke character, but it is a laugh-out-loud section, his commitment to the character pushing it through.

To break things up, Osmanoglu frequently takes on the character of his own father as no Naz Show would be complete without his dad making an appearance. As if there weren’t enough self-flagellation in the show already, his ‘dad’ lambasts him for not coming up to scratch. It’s done in an amusing-enough exaggerated way, but there’s not much comic value to it. The show comes to an end with a big musical number that’s weak in content and bungled anyway. It’s not the finish anyone wanted. 

The Naz Show feels like a roll of the dice from Osmanoglu. A talented comic shaking things up, giving something different a go. Calling it The Naz Show suggests that it was perhaps conceived as an elaborate TV pitch, which is, I’m afraid to say, optimistic. From the stalls, the show looks like cathartic for its performer, but there isn’t much in it for us. 

Review date: 9 Aug 2017
Reviewed by: Paul Fleckney

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