Theatre Review: #HonestAmy, Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh

Amy Booth-Steel, who played Nicola Sturgeon in Windsors and Mel in the BBC Three sitcom Wannabe, was about to play a pantomime fairy when the discovery of a large cancerous lump on her back stops her in her tracks.

Amy Booth-Steel takes and unflinching inward look, telling the story of her recovery from cancer.

#Honest Amy, Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh * * *

Playing herself, directed by the award-winning actor Kathy Burke, Booth-Steel launches on a feisty, funny cancer comeback story, in an important reminder of the mental toll the disease can take. Many people in the audience will relate to this particular mid-life crisis, and they were on their feet at the end.

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A therapist tells her that her life is like a demolished house, and she needs to rebuild it, brick by brick. A ukulele is deployed, and Booth-Steel gets guffaws with comic songs about how she hated her body, and the dubious men she met on the likes of Tinder. She’s got a lovely voice, and does a passable Britney Spears. She has got PTSD and FOMO in spades. Just how honest is Amy? She gives us A for apple, Amy, and anxious, but also for actress.

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She’s a consummate performer, and even when the subject is anxiety attacks, the outcome is polished and funny. There’s a plethora in this Fringe of autobiographical shows about struggles with mental health, finding the balance between raw real life and entertainment. Not for Amy sitting round feeling sorry for herself: it’s buck up and be proud of what you are.

Until 26 August