On The Beach

John Osborne

Pleasance Dome

From 31 July 2013 to 26 August 2013

Rating: ***

Review by Robin Strapp

John Osborne’s new show On The Beach is the result of twelve months research visiting seaside towns. It is a delightful whimsical story of a lunchtime walk along Weymouth beach that uses a montage of archive film to counterpoint the present day experiences and certainly pushes the nostalgia button.

Osborne is an endearing, captivating performer and this is very much his recollections of a personal journey with vignettes of images that everyone may be able to identify with. Such as the man in the ponytail pushing a man in a wheelchair eating an ice cream.

The seaside evokes memories of sunshine holidays, brief holiday romances, picnics, families playing cricket and an even the glimpse of an old couple eating strawberries and cream.

Then there was the adventure of going to Butlins with their Redcoat entertainers and the excitement of people being able to relax and enjoy themselves for a day or a week or two.

Not forgetting the penny arcades and the thrill of winning a prize. But the rather seedy side of seaside towns was not explored in any depth.

This is a pleasant way to spend 50 minutes but I longed for more details of the characters Osborne had created.