The 72-year-old cabaret performer Nigel Osner knows a thing or two about ageing and self-isolating during the pandemic. Since the 90’s, he has been developing a wide range of cabaret characters through lyrics and monologues. In this short medley, we get to meet some of them and find out how they have adapted to the new normal.
Osner could have done so much more with his characters.
Nigel Osner’s 2019 Edinburgh Fringe performance Too young to stay in, too old to go out dealt with the ups and downs of ageing through the eyes of male and female characters. For this online special, Osner changed just two words in the title – and voilà – we have a Covid-19 infused version titled Too bored to stay in, too scared to go out.
The 15-minute show includes two original songs, the title song and the reflections of an ageing Marlene Dietrich-esque character, who rather enjoys her pandemic, and a monologue about two spinsters on a cruise ship, which – you guessed it – turns into a lockdown nightmare. Most of Nigel Osner’s characters have been around for quite some time. For example, his Dietrich act was shot as a short film in 2005.
During the lockdown, many cabaret stars have put together amazing performances from their living rooms with just a few props and a lot of imagination. Unfortunately, Nigel Osner’s act does not compare. Knowing the long history, he could have done so much more with his characters.
Without the clothes, makeup and hair, his cabaret act is stripped down to a clumsily executed stand-up comedy number with no editing, not even on blundered lyrics. Instead of giving it the air of a live show, this does not work for his advantage nor do justice to his talent.
Even though this was not Nigel Osner’s brightest 15 minutes of fame, do look up his short films, they are worth a watch.