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Naz Osmanoglu: Fringe 2012

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Julian Hall

Though I didn’t see Naz Osmamoglu’s show 100% Awesome last year, it sounds quite similar to the premise of this show. Ottoman Without An Empire also explores his Turkish roots (there’s never a bad time to remind people that you are 19th in line for a the Turkish throne, even if the royal family is not recognised) and contrasts his father’s uptight, boorish behaviour with his slightly less macho, less goals-driven approach.

Osmanoglu still has a certificate from an American fast food chain to honour his demolishing of one of their burgers, and yet has no idea where more important documents are. If you think that you might end up seeing eye-to-eye with his father though, think again. His character has already been assassinated by the comedian, painting a picture of someone who is rather more proactive about not suffering fools gladly than might be strictly necessary.

With an opening momentum established, Osmanoglu, who has something of the thespian about his delivery (and bears a passing stylistic resemblance to Rik Mayall) needn’t work the front row of the audience as much as he does. He uses the premise of recruiting them to his court (so, for example, one man who is in the army becomes his serjeant-at-arms), but often revisiting them feels like a slight rhythm sap.

Many of the subsequent routines; being unable to use his railcard on a train journey;  the way new technology is more about touch and caress while previously it was more promiscuous in the way you used it; are not directly related to the theme, but they are well segued into.

Moreover, there are routines that play back to the relationship he has with his father, including a childhood stand-off and some nocturnal habits that he thought were big and clever at the time but came back to haunt him.

All told, Osmanoglu (one third of sketch troupe WitTank) makes a level of commitment to his material that I have not seen from many other comics this year, and what’s more he has the stories and the lines to back up his energy. While there’s a need for a neater ending this Prince is carried aloft by hard work and a generous treatment of his subjects.

Review date: 17 Aug 2012
Reviewed by: Julian Hall
Reviewed at: Underbelly Bristo Square

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