The Starship Osiris

It should be compulsory for discerning audiences to attend at least one Fringe show every year that is totally bonkers, and if it were, then The Starship Osiris would be a fine choice.

his ridiculous physical appearance, combined with the serious facial expressions he pulls is enough to make the audience hoot with laughter before he’s uttered a word

Combining all the elements of 1950s sci-fi B-movies with (mostly original) music, anarchy, improvisation and the massive ego of George Vere, this show is unashamedly rubbish. However, like the B-movies it plagiarizes, the genius of this show is: it’s meant to be!

Vere bounds onto the Komedia studio stage as Captain Harrison, dressed in a purple polo neck, a badge made out of silver foil and the snuggest black leggings a man has ever had the audacity to wear in public, like a stick insect in tights. His ridiculous physical appearance, combined with the serious facial expressions he pulls is enough to make the audience hoot with laughter before he’s uttered a word.

He is, of course, accompanied by three sexy crew members; Roxie, Trixie and Lexie, his ‘Starlets’, played with charming contempt by Molly Bird, Lola Claire and Jo McGarry, who are there to whimper, simper, kiss and stroke the ego of their handsome (his words, not mine) Captain. They provide harmonious backing vocals, accompanied by the on-stage pianist Ian Fleming, who wrote the original music to George Vere’s humorously ironic lyrics. The girls start off conforming to stereotype but this subversive show cleverly takes them on a different journey.

Aiden Willis plays anti-hero Evans, the hapless engineer and ‘chubby loser’, who is the brunt of the Captain’s anger, frustration and bullying, but who manages to win over the raucously vocal audience’s sympathies as the play progresses. They are on a mission to defeat the evil Zalgar, also played by Vere who appears on screen in green make up and makes his demands for domination. The show seems to be going according to plan for a while, and the over-exaggerated script bounces along, albeit with countless deviations as the Captain berates everyone around him, including his technician Alex Wells-King and even the audience. It’s around half way through, however, that the mayhem truly begins.

The writer, director, dictator and star suffers a catastrophic mutiny, as Evans leads the crew, in his underpants, to overthrow the evil one who makes them work for no money in a dark room while the sun shines outside and who has kept them all prisoner in a show that is merely for his own selfish gain.

Thrown into this frenetic mix are some dreadful props in the form of an electronic egg box masquerading as a cyber bot, aliens dressed in green ponchos and silly hats and a massive monster made out of shiny material and you have everything you need for an over-acted, over-promoted evening of hilarity.

Vere and his cast keep the audience guessing as to whether the mutiny is real or not, with one of the Starlets flatly refusing to continue the action by sitting down in the audience with a gin and tonic. Is that meant to happen? It doesn’t matter because it’s funny anyway and by now all normality has been sucked towards the black hole that threatens to destroy us all.

The Starship Osiris takes the audience on a mad journey of total chaos through the mind of the talented narcissist George Vere admirably supported by his much-maligned cast and crew. He managed to cunningly uncover the identity of the reviewer in the audience (me) and demanded a four star rating. Captain Harrison always gets what he deserves in the end. 

Reviews by Christine Kempell

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The Blurb

Despite a cast that despise him, the arrogant actor, writer and director George Vere endeavours to bring you his debut "sci-fi masterpiece". A new comedy from Willis & Vere. The 21st Top Rated Show at the Edinburgh Fringe out of 3,000. Shortlisted for the Brighton Fringe Award for Excellence 2016. “One of the funniest shows running at the Fringe!” ***** (ThreeWeeks) “[The Starship Osiris] is of incredibly high calibre.” ***** (Broadway Baby) “The Play That Goes Wrong with a fuck-ton more swearing.” ***** (The Chocolate Ocelot) Sell-out show in Leeds 2016.