The Fringe cliché about performing to an audience of two men and a dog is every company’s nightmare. Unfortunately it was in these - less than ideal - circumstances that I saw There Is Absolutely Nothing Wrong With Oscar Pike. Only there was no dog present. Just one other woman, and myself.

Paul Richards plays Oscar Pike, a feckless and self-obsessed poet who has just been dumped by his girlfriend (Grace Williams) and finds himself alone and friendless on New Years Eve, booted out of his lodgings so that his eccentric landlady (Izzy Rees) can throw a shindig. Oscar’s mild shortcomings (and the odd positive impulse or two) are explored through interactions with an assortment of minor characters and are of minor interest - is he really a total plonker? Does he find love at the end? What do you think?

The production is not awful. The actors do a solid job – though all could afford to up the energy and pace. The staging is bare bones – minimal set, props, and sounds are sufficient to provide the world in which the story takes place. The script is mildly funny and occasionally witty, swinging between wacky escapades and Hugh-Grant-esque stammering and understatement. The blocking is all very back and forth along a single line – not much deliberation has gone into stage pictures or visuals – but the story is delivered; essentially this is the text handed over to you with minimal fuss.

One wonders: had the writer not also played the main role, or if the director had not also played the love interest, could the company have had a bit more variety in interpretation and staging? Not a bad effort, though with nothing particular to recommend it.

Since you’re here…

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You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
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The Blurb

New Year’s Eve. Oscar: self-obsessed, socially awkward and struggling to put his disastrous year behind him is feeling the pressure. A lively comedy featuring a great soundtrack and a cat called David.

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