Cabaret & variety review: Angel to Vampire!

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There’s an infectiously heartfelt sense of seizing the day about Angel to Vampire!, a character-based comic cabaret by Nigel Osner.

Star rating: ***

Venue: SpaceTriplex (Venue 38)

Osner came late to performance, he tells us, after careers in law and the civil service, and he conveys his late-blooming passion for self-expression with both modesty and zeal. He’s also tremendously talented and very entertaining.

Performed to backing tracks, Osner’s songs are well-turned, amusing and evocative, his characters ranging from young men on misguided quests for love to middle-aged types who are taken for a ride or content with low-wattage love (“We won’t be setting records for endurance. / We’ll be taking out some medical insurance.”)

There’s more fantastical material too – the titular angel, who prefers life on earth to celestial routine, and vampire, who has designs on the audience – and moments that conjure Marlene Dietrich and Mae West. If the music is assured, Osner is on less certain ground in between songs: his patter, though sympathetic and likeable, is short on sparkle or wit. Nor is it clear what his array of regional accents delivers in terms of expressive meaning.

But it’s a pleasure to see a performer of such distinctive ability flex his wings – and occasionally bare a fang.

Until 27 August. Today 6:05pm.

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