Beth Vyse

Beth Vyse

Beth Vyse is an actress who started her career at the RSC, Sheffield Crucible, Royal Court, Birmingham Rep and The Soho Theatre. She went on to perform comedy shows with as half of the double act Morris and Vyse. She now performs solo character comedy, and with The Weirdos Collective.
Read More

Beth Vyse: As Funny As Cancer

Review by Steve Bennett

This is a delicate tightrope to tread. Beth Vyse is known for extravagant stupidity, with over-the-top props and a full-on performance, fully committed to her surreal madness. But this year’s show is about her diagnosis with breast cancer, which is not immediately suited to any of that.

She makes a good fist of putting silliness into the story while being respectful to a sensitive issue that affects so many others, not just herself. Yet there’s also a sense that she’s holding back, not quite confident whether to be weird or to be truthful, so vacillates, not sticking to one path.

That’s entirely understandable, given that she’s only recently started feeling OK to talk about the mastectomy she had, but means there’s a feeling that there’s a new, improved version of this still-ragged show waiting in the future.

Vyse was diagnosed at 29, a soberingly early confrontation for someone just finding her way in life. At the time she had performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company (and had an odd one-night stand with a future Dr Who, by her account) and recently started a new relationship with a supportive fella who, for the purposes of this story, was Michael Jackson.

It is he, played by an audience member in a Jacko fright mask (an a particularly uncomfortable-looking audience member at this performance) who provides the comic relief. That and a few big, daft set pieces, including the introduction when Vyse greets us in the guise of Dolly Parton, screaming at us that performance is her dream, as she sloppily distributes ping-pong balls to the crowd.

Such oddness sits cheek-by-jowl with the true story, preventing it from getting too sombre. Though it also feels we don’t quite get to know the other key players – namely her parents – well enough for the sense of the story.

Slapstick surrealism aside, there’s also a gallows humour to some of the extreme situations she found herself in, too, not least when it came to discussing a replacement for her lost breast, which Vyse exploits without gimmick (well, almost).

Holding all this together is quite the task, and Vyse has the verve, charisma and honesty when it’s needed to get the job done, keeping the performance loose but the tale on track. Yet it also feels another leap forward away from being a fantastic show, which probably rests on deciding more definitely what tone to take.

Read More

Published: 12 Aug 2015

Comments

Past Shows

Edinburgh Fringe 2010

Morris & Vyse: Daylords


Edinburgh Fringe 2011

Morris & Vyse: Daylords Return


Edinburgh Fringe 2012

No Turn Unstoned


Edinburgh Fringe 2013

Beth Vyse: Going Dark!


Edinburgh Fringe 2014

Beth Vyse: Get Up With Hands!


Edinburgh Fringe 2015

Beth Vyse: As Funny As Cancer


Agent

We do not currently hold contact details for Beth Vyse's agent. If you are a comic or agent wanting your details to appear on Chortle, click here.

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.