Call Me Oz, King’s Head London, 4****: William Russell



By Richard Curnow.


The King’s Head theatre, 115 Upper Street, Islington, London N1 1QN 5 & 6 August 2018 as part of the Queer Season and later in the month at the Edmonton Fringe, Canada.

Runs 45 mins No interval.

Review: William Russell 6 June

The truth about the state of Denmark

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, as we know, hadn’t the faintest idea what was going on at the court of Claudius and Gertrude but somebody else did – which provides the basis for this hugely entertaining monologue performed by Richard Curnow. He plays Osric, a very camp gentleman undergoing therapy, who suffers from constipation – but we won’t go into that – and was there when Hamlet was causing problems at court some 40 years ago. Oscric is encouraged by Inga, his therapist, to reveal just what is causing his constipation first to a journalist on a scandal rag – Horatio has published his account of the “people’s prince” which Osric describes as romantic fiction. That leads to his appearing on a television chat show where, fuelled by the Green Room drinks, he duly tells what he knows.

Osric, who likes to beknown as Oz, was rather keen on Laertes, but was outed by Horatio, whom he has never forgiven. In his present life he has his windows cleaned by a very hunky cleaner rather more often than need be, who, it turns out, was also at Elsinore, one of the guards on the battlements. He too has a tale to tell.

Curnow clearly knows his Shakespeare and it seems that Osric involved in setting up the duel between Laertes and Hamlet spotted the fact that Laertes’ sword was not capped but said nothing with fatal results all round. Curnow creates a splendid male spinster enjoying his moment in the spotlight at last as he creates havoc on that chat show destroying the myths of the past. As he said at the time, almost all he got to say, this monologue is indeed – “A hit, a palpable hit.”


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