Interview: Beth Vyse

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Credit: Idil Sukan / Draw HQ

The weird and wonderful Beth Vyse is a comedian, actress and storyteller with a penchant for a colourful character or two. Vyse’s latest show, As Funny As Cancer, is a personal narrative of a battle with cancer – as touching and engagingly told, as it is cackle-out-loud funny. Bold, vibrant and unashamedly madcap, the show will return to the North West this Wednesday, as part of The Kings Arms Salford’s #PLAY4FREE Festival. We’ve already seen it and we laughed. Lots. But don’t take our word for it. Here’s some questions with the brilliant Beth herself…

 

How would you describe your comedy style?

Absurd, irreverent, gross, warm… oh I don’t know, I’ve done three Edinburghs now and each one different. I like getting the audience involved with the action so they somehow change the course of the show, that’s fun, but I’m no one trick pony. Whatever takes my fancy that year I guess.

Do you consider As Funny As Cancer to be stand up or theatre? Does it matter?

I think it sits somewhere between the two worlds. Some theatre people see the show and they’re excited about me getting the audience up to help tell my story because they’ve never seen anything like that before, but of course in the comedy world that happens all the time. And I have comedy audience members crying in the show, and not expecting it to move them. But I don’t think it matters really, it’s something I wanted to talk about this year and do it my way. I won’t be doing it again next year, on to something new.

How have you found the experience of doing a show so closely based on your real life?

Hard, weird, sometimes great, sometimes horrible. I suppose the highs are higher when it’s personal stuff you’re talking about, but then again the lows are lower.

Your show involves some audience participation. What’s the most unexpected / show derailing / funniest / best thing a rogue audience member has done when picked on?

This show the audience have been pretty great really. In my last show “Get Up With Hands”, I got a man up onstage to play Jane McDonald (from Loose Women Fame) and I had some fake breasts to put on him when I turned around to get them, he took his top off and said “I don’t need any!” (he was quite portly). That was both entertaining and derailing! HA HA!

Who influences the way you do comedy? Whose work do you most admire?

Sam Simmons; endlessly great. Kenny Everett, Vic and Bob, Julie Walters, Tracey Ullman, League of Gentleman, John Kearns, Spencer Jones – oh the list goes on and on. Storytelling comedy like Daniel Kitson, Josie Long and Bridget Christie.

You can catch Beth Vyse: As Funny As Cancer at The Kings Arms Salford on Wednesday 13th January. Entrance is FREE, but you can reserve a seat here.

Located further east? You can see As Funny As Cancer at Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival on Sunday 21st February (more info here) and a Work in Progress of Beth’s next show on Saturday 20th February (here!).

Follow her on Twitter @BethVyse.

Recognise this face? You might have been lucky enough to catch Beth Vyse performing her show at the launch night of Funny Looking Presents… a new comedy happening showcasing hour long shows from some of the best names in the country. Missed it? Why not get along to Chris Coltrane, Michael J Dolan or Holly Burn instead, you dozy old sausage? (Alternatively, you might have spotted her interview on Loose Women).

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