It is said that inside every great actor there is a writer, director and producer bursting to get out. Sometimes this does occur and a fabulous show is born. To take an example, pop down to the Vault Festival under Waterloo Station and take in writer, producer director and star George Veer’s The Starship Osiris.
And now we hit a problem as The Starship Osiris is one of those shows that is very, very difficult to describe without giving too much away and potentially spoiling the experience for audience members. So here goes. George Veer has written a play set aboard a starship (the Osiris of the title) George plays the lead character, Captain Harrison, a steely- eyed, tall – some might say lanky – handsome chap in the mould of great starship captains such as the one and only James Tiberius Kirk. The starship’s crew consists of three mini-skirted ladies – Roxie (Molly Bird), Trixie (Lola Claire) and Lexie (Joe McGarry) – who totally dote on their Captain whilst ignoring junior crew member Evans (Aiden Willis) seen as a figure of fun by everyone including the final member of the human crew Ian (Ian Fleming).
So, we have the whole play within a play scenario going on and at this point, one could talk about Noises Off or The Play That Goes Wrong but as I haven’t seen either of these I can easily avoid that. What I can say is that it’s very rare for me to spend virtually an entire hour laughing during a show but with The Starship Osiris that was the case. George Veer’s writing of both the play and the play within the play are spot on and he manages to keep Captain Harrison on just the right side of cringeworthy whilst at the same time making George really obnoxious. Full credit has to go to all of the actors who really throw themselves – at times quite literally – into the show and I have to mention Aiden Willis as Evans whose transformation from put-upon drudge to where he ends up is brilliant to observe. One more thing, I have no idea if Ian Fleming really is his name – I so hope it is – but his little interjections, along with the music he composed (lyrics by, who else George Vere) – were really well delivered and often caught the mood of the piece beautifully. Zoë Molloy’s set and design work really well and, as my companion – who works in marketing – pointed out, everything was ‘on brand’ and nicely tied in together, as you would expect on a military starship.
Thinking back, there is literally nothing to dislike about this show. At roughly sixty minutes running time, the length was just right, particularly as so much was packed into the performance. If I have one criticism it was the placement of the speakers which occasionally meant the piano music was a tad too loud from where I sat but I will temper that by saying how impressed I was with the way the script felt so natural, especially with the references to the particular part of the Vault they were playing in and other things occurring that evening.
So, all in all, I thought The Starship Osiris was a really brilliant show. Superbly written and delivered by an extremely talented cast, this is a good old belly laugh of a show from start to finish and is yet another really good reason to visit Vault Festival 2017.
Review by Terry Eastham
Armed with a cast that despise him, the arrogant actor, writer and director George Vere endeavours to bring you his “sci-fi masterpiece”.
The Starship Osiris
BY WILLIS & VERE
Theatre. 1st – 5th Feb, 19:45, £9.