Beth Vyse: As Funny As Cancer

In Steve Bennett’s review of Beth Vyse’s As Funny As Cancer at last year’s Fringe, he expressed ‘a feeling that there’s a new, improved version of this still-ragged show waiting in the future’.

Watching Beth’s preview of As Funny As Cancer before it returns to the Fringe, I am more than excited to confirm that this is that version.

Diagnosed at 29 with breast cancer and given the all clear five years later, you’d think putting her experience in a comedy show would be the last thing on her mind. But I am thoroughly glad she did.

It takes an overwhelming amount of courage, skill and capability to talk about cancer in a comedy show, and craft a tone that permits the audience to feel comfortable enough to laugh about it.

as funny as cancer 3

As Funny As Cancer is brave, honest and raw. This feels odd to say, as Beth dances around dressed as Dolly Parton, throwing ping-pong balls at us as we take our seats.

But there is no truer way Beth could do justice to her own encounter with cancer than by blending her own surreal essence of comedy with real moments of real, painful experience.

Beth weaves moments of dream like madness and fantasy with reality, using pictures of her family and those who were around her at the time, to tackle her experience in a blend of abstract and stark moments of truth to create a piece that really is so very meaningful.

In keeping with her off the wall style, props are outlandish, fun and innocent. A giant boob looms over her, and fake breasts become part of her costume, yet Beth somehow uses them to make her experience real and relatable.

As Funny As Cancer is a raw and vulnerable show that was uplifting, hilarious and tremendously important. I thoroughly recommend you see this show. It will stay with you long after you leave.

I am in awe of her.

★★★★

Beth Vyse is back at the Fringe this year with a more refined version of As Funny As Cancer after a sell-out run and world tour. This important and life-affirming show is coming back to Gilded Balloon at The Counting House, where a percentage of the money will go to a cancer charity. You can get tickets here!

Lynne Parker
Lynne Parker
Lynne Parker is the founder and chief executive of Funny Women. She is also a performance coach, facilitator and speaker and writes for leading newspapers, magazines and trade journals including Huffington Post and The Guardian.  Visit www.lynneparker.co.uk to find out more.

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