Josh Richards is a scientist and a comedian, an Aussie and a “ginger” (in American English: He has red hair). He is one of 100 worldwide astronaut candidates short-listed to leave Earth forever and become the first to colonize Mars in 2025. He loves statistics and space. He loves bucket lists and challenges. He served with the British Commandos; he donated sperm. He has at least two tattoos. Within a year, he will know if he remains a Mars One candidate. Until then, he can use this fact to lend title, not tether, to this oneman ramble of a show. The sort-of theme is, “What would you do if you had 10 years left on Earth?” Since Richards has already done 70 of the 101 things in a book a friend gave him years ago for living a big life, what he really wants to do is get laid. More Tinder profile than stage show, Cosmic Nomad is a shapeless constellation of anecdotes and observations. Richards is a charming bad boy, an adrenalin junkie with a Russell Brand-style delivery. Many of the younger women in the opening night audience seemed to find him hilarious. A few sci-fi-obsessed fan boys were present, too, and their devotion to the subject matter was more intriguing than the performer. I wanted to love the material as much as they did. If you love space, if you love Futurama, if you love Aussies or gingers and/or you want to get laid, then this is going to be a fun 50 minutes for you. If you are looking for a cohesive, well-crafted experience, look elsewhere. Cosmic Nomad feels like Richards got accepted to Cincy Fringe and then forgot about it until he sketched out the show on the long plane ride here.
He is a clever fellow, so Cosmic Nomad might get better on subsequent nights. He stated frequently that to an engineer, a challenge is only a problem to solve. His problem to solve, if he chooses, is to turn this rich material into a solid show.