Comedy review: Beth Vyse As Olive Hands In All Hands To The Pump…

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You have probably heard about those French clown schools, where they break people down in order to liberate their inner idiot. It is ­possible something like that happened to Beth Vyse.

Star rating: ****

Venue: Heroes @ The Hive (Venue 313)

According to the story being told around town, Vyse was a Shakespearean actress before she caught cancer and decided to become a comic. This seems ­unlikely. Perhaps she got struck by lightning. Perhaps she was born this way. Whatever the reason there can be few more gigantic idiots on the Fringe. And I mean that in the most complimentary way ­possible.

Vyse is an extraordinary physical clown with a ridiculous imagination. Clad in nylon leopardskin with a joke shop wig and one high-heeled shoe, her character Olive Hands exudes deluded northern glamour.

Vyse impersonates an octopus, has a pregnancy scare and finds a fake vagina at the bottom of the sea. The audience is sat on, kissed, encouraged to throw things and, at one point, forced to evacuate the room, when the more timid audience members have the chance to escape.

Vyse is enabled on her adventures by her son, played by comic Ali Brice, and her would-be daughter-in-law Tash Goldstone. A video link-up brings in Kim Jong-il, Noel Edmonds and Michael Fish.

The plot, if you can call it that, has to do with sailing to North Korea on a cruise ship – which becomes a submarine – to create the greatest daytime TV star of all time.

If you’re looking for a show with a coherent structure you won’t find it here. Even Vyse seems to have forgotten part of the plot. Whatever is going on, it is fantastically funny.

Until 28 August. Today 3:10pm.

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